Plans to turn former Gooch and Housgo factory in Ilminster into homes and shops

Plans to turn former Gooch and Housgo factory in Ilminster into homes and shops

Plans to turn former Gooch and Housgo factory in Ilminster into homes and shops

First published in News Chard & Ilminster News: Photograph of the Author by

THE former Gooch and Housego factory in the centre of Ilminster will be turned into homes and shops if revised plans are approved.

Peter Eldridge Architects, who devised the scheme on behalf of the applicants, hope to convert the building at the Cornhill in Market Place into 14 homes and three units suitable for shops or offices.

A previous application to develop the site was approved in 2008 but that expired and a second application was refused and withdrawn in September last year.

The revised proposals include:

  •  Four apartments – two one-bedroom and two two-bedroom.
  •  Ten houses of between one and three bedrooms, with either a private or communal garden.
  •  A covered parking area for six cars and bicycle rack.

Some of the buildings on the site are listed and date from the 18th Century but only those with no historic value will be replaced.

In their application, the developers say: “This proposal will provide an opportunity to create new life into this derelict site which will not only improve the surrounding area but also ensure that the historic fabric of the most significant buildings are restored and brought back to full use.”

Concerns have been raised about access to the development, which would be via the existing archway leading onto Cornhill Market Place and is close to the Meeting House Arts Centre, a Grade I listed building.

Ilminster Town Council planning committee chairman Cllr Andrew Shearman backed the idea of developing the area.

He said: “There have been issues with retaining historical and archaeological integrity of the buildings but the town council is keen to see it back in use.

“An office base is most welcome in Ilminster because the town needs it.”

Gooch and Housego, an optical equipment manufacturer, has been based in the former Clarks shoe factory at Dowlish Ford in recent years.

Comments (3)

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10:50pm Thu 8 May 14

orchardman says...

On the basis that the average household has at least one car, one assumes that the developers will be providing more than the 6 covered parking spaces mentioned in the article, (20?) particularly as the area concerned is one of the most congested areas in the town. Whilst Cllr. Shearman may be in favour of the idea, he should bear in mind that a number of applications for the town centre eyesore of the old public conveniences in Ditton Street/ Swan Precinct (an area that is in far greater need of improvement!) have been refused because of lack of parking. Also a few years ago a chap who used to run a small car repair business adjacent to what is now the Tesco garage, had an application refused to move to the industrial unit in Shudrick Lane because of (alleged) problems with parking!. As I've suggested before, in these situations, all a question of what clubs/ organisations you belong to.
On the basis that the average household has at least one car, one assumes that the developers will be providing more than the 6 covered parking spaces mentioned in the article, (20?) particularly as the area concerned is one of the most congested areas in the town. Whilst Cllr. Shearman may be in favour of the idea, he should bear in mind that a number of applications for the town centre eyesore of the old public conveniences in Ditton Street/ Swan Precinct (an area that is in far greater need of improvement!) have been refused because of lack of parking. Also a few years ago a chap who used to run a small car repair business adjacent to what is now the Tesco garage, had an application refused to move to the industrial unit in Shudrick Lane because of (alleged) problems with parking!. As I've suggested before, in these situations, all a question of what clubs/ organisations you belong to. orchardman
  • Score: -8

10:52am Sat 10 May 14

Dick Turpin Works For Council says...

Developments like this proposal to convert unused sites are the way forward. Sending JCB's in, to dig up virgin countryside or playing fields are not.
The lack of allocated parking spaces is an artificial barrier erected by those who have a financial interest in seeing our green and pleasant land concreted over.
Developments like this proposal to convert unused sites are the way forward. Sending JCB's in, to dig up virgin countryside or playing fields are not. The lack of allocated parking spaces is an artificial barrier erected by those who have a financial interest in seeing our green and pleasant land concreted over. Dick Turpin Works For Council
  • Score: 2

10:29pm Sun 11 May 14

orchardman says...

With reference to my previous comment, and to Dick Turpin etc., I wish I did have a financial interest in the area concerned!. In fact, I quite agree with the idea of utilising existing buildings for whatever purpose. My point was re the general lack of parking in a busy part of the town where existing residents, and workers already have problems in this direction. Of course we all know of the ideal site on the western edge of town which could be developed, thus saving our green fields for a few more years.
With reference to my previous comment, and to Dick Turpin etc., I wish I did have a financial interest in the area concerned!. In fact, I quite agree with the idea of utilising existing buildings for whatever purpose. My point was re the general lack of parking in a busy part of the town where existing residents, and workers already have problems in this direction. Of course we all know of the ideal site on the western edge of town which could be developed, thus saving our green fields for a few more years. orchardman
  • Score: -2

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