Developer withdraws plan to transform office block in Huntingdon

Plans submitted to turn the 18th century Wykeham House, in Huntingdon, into flats have been withdraw

Plans submitted to turn the 18th century Wykeham House, in Huntingdon, into flats have been withdrawn - Credit: Archant

Plans to give a new lease of life to a building in the heart of Huntingdon have been withdrawn by a developer.

St Neots-based Constant Properties Investments Ltd had put forward plans to transform Wykeham House, in Market Square, from offices into six one-bedroom flats and a two-bedroom flat.

Following opposition from neighbours, and a vote from Huntingdon Town Council to reject the plan, however, the developer has chosen to withdraw the application.

The Grade II-listed building was used as offices until early last year when it was put up for sale and has since remained empty.

In submitted plans, the company noted: “The proposal to change the use of the building from offices to residential results from the difficulty in letting the offices; which have been vacant and on the market for more than 12 months; despite the office market having been fairly buoyant.”

Despite the company’s proposal to redevelop the building, residents living in neighbouring Walden House claimed it would be creating “the risk of the slums of the future”, regarding the number of flats earmarked for the building.

In consultation with the council, resident Andrew Bish said: “I’m a great fan of town centre living and absolutely support the development of good quality homes in the town centre, but I fear with this proposal as it stands is to shoehorn seven apartments into this relatively modest sized building, and I do worry that if this proposal is allowed to go ahead we will be creating homes of last resort.”

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This was reflected by the town council’s planning application panel which rejected the plan and proposed that the development should be limited to three flats. The 18th century building remains on the market, and is being advertised by St Neots-based Barford+Co which has suggested that it could have the potential for a range of uses.

The property agents have recommended that it could be transformed into a café, bar or restaurant due to its town centre location.

It is not known whether the developer will resubmit an application for fewer flats.