Today’s post appearing here and also as a guest post on SevenStreets.
Following last week’s worrying news that the owners of Renshaw Street’s Grand Central Hall, the O’Brien Group, have submitted a planning application “To change use to create 41 bed student accommodation on 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors” rumours of the demise of the building’s shops and workshop spaces have been calmed.
Martin Womack, co-owner of the ‘Hippy Hole’ at Grand Central tells me:
“We’ve had discussions now with the O’Brien Group, and they’ve made it clear that the planning permission they’re seeking is mainly about the upper floors of the building. The ground floor and basement, where most of the shops are, will not be affected by the plans and on the first floor the plans are for an area that’s currently offices, not the shops. So we feel mostly ok now.
Obviously we know things can change in the future, but equally we’re all supportive of the fact that something’s got to be done about the upper floors and the fabric of the building, which are in dire need of help.”
So, fears generally calmed then. Though feelings left a little bruised by the fact that the owners, who people generally seem to get on with, left them to find out about the planning application through SevenStreets, rather than tell them directly. Another shop and workshop owner complains:
“Even in this one week I’ve had schools ringing me about whether we’ll now be going ahead with projects we’ve got planned for their pupils? You know, worries like that are not good for business.”
Which, along with downright curiosity, is one of the reasons I’m here. Continue reading