Market bid for eyesore site

AN eyesore in Nailsea could be transformed into a local market, caf� and heritage site to breathe new life into the town.

Hobbs Properties has applied for permission to turn the old Royal Oak Garage into an indoor and outdoor market, housing scores of local traders, to complement the nearby heritage works planned for the former Glassworks site.

Photovoltaic panels would also be installed on the roof of the former garage to make the building more self sufficient.

Architect Robert O’Leary, whose firm is drawing up the plans, said: “The building has been sitting vacant for many years and it is an eyesore. It was previously a garage and long before that it was one of the buildings in the Nailsea Glassworks.

“The idea is that we’d have an indoor market, the exact nature of which could be flexible. It might be for food or art and handmade objects.

“It would complement the open space and the interpretative installations that the town council envisages on the main heritage of the Glassworks cone site.

“At the moment it’s in a state of disrepair. The intention is not only to provide a useful commercial presence and facility at that end of town but the building would also be self-sufficient for most of the year.

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“It would generate electricity, so the building would run itself and the traders will benefit from free electricity when the sun shines.”

Hobbs Properties, which owns the former garage, is hoping to get planning permission by the middle of October so work can begin early next year.

Nailsea Town Council is supporting the plans which will complement its proposals for the adjacent site and draw more people to the area.

The authority is currently discussing plans to transform the former Glassworks into a heritage site, with information boards to explain the area’s rich history.

Town council clerk Ian Morrell said: “Improvements to the Glassworks site is a high priority for residents.

“The proposed development of the Royal Oak Garage is welcomed and the town council has been in discussions with Hobbs Properties in order to ensure that any future development of the Glassworks site itself will be compatible with the development proposed for the garage.

“The town council has agreed to a budget for developing proposals for the Glassworks site and we will be looking to have a proposal to seek grant funding in 2012. We will also need planning permission and approval from English Heritage.

“At the moment the site is an eyesore so the work that is being proposed will definitely be a major improvement to an important part of the town.”

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