Change of use of former family run Hitchin business approved by council

Former Philpotts furniture store, Sun Street, Hitchin

Former Philpotts furniture store, Sun Street, Hitchin - Credit: Archant

A change of use of a former family run furniture store has been approved by North Herts District Council (NHDC).

Former Philpotts furniture store, Sun Street, Hitchin

Former Philpotts furniture store, Sun Street, Hitchin - Credit: Archant

Plans to convert the first and second floors of the former Philpotts in Sun Street, Hitchin, into a play centre for young children plus two treatment rooms and two offices were approved last week by the planning authority.

Applicant Isabelle Maguire – who is a lawyer and baby yoga and massage teacher – suggests it could be called Secret Garden.

A report sent to NHDC, via agent architect Dave Pucknell, says: “We propose an indoor play area in Hitchin with an emphasis on encouraging creative, imaginative play for pre-school children, whilst offering a relaxing inclusive environment for mothers and carers.

“We are committed to preserving the unique historical elements of the property.”


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Now another application has now been submitted to NHDC for the internal alterations to facilitate the changes of use from Class A1 to Class D1.

The application follows an unsuccessful bid to change the Grade II listed building into a bar or restaurant, although an application for a ground floor change of use to cafe or restaurant was approved earlier this month.

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The bar proposals proved unpopular with many residents and groups, who said it would be detrimental to residents and town centre businesses.

Cllr Tom Brindley, NHDC’s portfolio holder for planning, said: “The application for a change of use at the former Philpotts site in Hitchin was approved last week. The proposed use was considered more appropriate for the location than a previous application that was withdrawn in May, and it would be good to see the site being brought back into use for the benefit of the town. A separate application for interior work will be decided within the next month.”

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