Bid to turn Stevenage Deamer's store into betting shop
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Permission is being sought to turn a Grade II listed property in Stevenage High Street, which has been home to a traditional hardware store for decades, into a betting shop.
BoyleSports (UK) Limited wants to take over J Deamer & Son Ltd, which has occupied 67-69 High Street since the 1930s, and has submitted a planning application to Stevenage Borough Council for change of use.
BoyleSports plans to install a new blue shop front, paint brickwork blue, and install two satellite dishes and air conditioning units to the rear of the property.
The Grade II Listed building dates back to the 18th century and lies within the Old Town Conservation Area.
Listed Building Consent is required to make the proposed internal and external alterations to the property, which include externally illuminated BoyleSports signs, a BoyleSports vinyl graphic applied to inside of the window, and reconfiguration of the internal layout.
In a Design and Access Statement submitted with the planning application, it says: "The proposal seeks to maintain the active frontage as part of the development, improving the curb appeal and visual amenity associated with the unit.
"The existing timber shopfront is in need of repair. We are therefore proposing to remove and replace with an improved timber shopfront and door painted to reflect BoyleSports branding in blue.
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"The proposed signage is aiming to create a vibrant, albeit sympathetic display that complements the commercial character of Middle Row and High Street."
BoyleSports says its proposal "signifies its long-term commitment to the unit" and that its tenure will "contribute to the maintenance of significant architectural features" such as the roofscape, sash windows and cambered arches, which "will not be impacted by the proposed development".
It says the new betting shop would increase footfall and "enhance the vibrancy" of the High Street.
J Deamer & Son Ltd is owned by Sarah and Stuart Deamer and specialises in garden machinery and has a lawnmower workshop.
The property was put up for let in February, with Sarah confirming in April that the lawnmower workshop is not up for let.
Hundreds of people have since taken to social media to express their dismay at the prospect of Deamer's closing. One said it would be the "loss of a huge piece of Old Town history" and another said "the high street will never be the same".