THE former Working Men's Club in Chard could soon be turned into five homes.

Plans to turn the three-storey building in Fore Street into residential properties came before Chard town councillors last week.

The building has been empty for several years and despite concerns over car parking provision, councillors welcomed the idea of putting the building back to use.

Cllr Brennie Halse, who covers the Holyrood ward, said: “Whatever we do it has to improve what it is now. They are not changing the frontage that we all know and love.”

Cllr Halse said Somerset County Council’s highways team had concerns over a lack of car parking spaces but said a mitigating factor was the property’s location close to the town centre and its access to public transport.

Cllr Dave Bulmer said the building’s renovation would add character to the town and said it was a significant building for people coming into Chard.

Cllr Martin Wale had concerns over parking and said despite Government guidelines on building homes without car parking said that South Somerset District Council’s view was that homes should have parking.

He added: “I find it very difficult because if people have shift work they can forget about using public transport later at night and we have no trains.”

Cllr Graham Forsyth said he would have liked to see the building used for education, such as a crèche or nursery.

Summing up, planning committee chairman Cllr Tony Prior said: “It has been in a terrible state for years. There are two options – residential or offices and there is no demand for offices. People taking up the flats need to be aware of the lack of parking and that if they leave their cars overnight, they have to move them by 10am the following day.”

Councillors recommended the plans should be approved and the district council’s Area West committee will look at them before a decision is reached.