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Bid to revitalise burned-out eyesore

PUBLISHED: 19:00 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:46 07 July 2010

Part of a burnt-out eyesore on Wells quayside could be revitalised as a café and wine bar.

The former Yellow Shop was destroyed by fire along with the neighbouring Gray's Arcade in January 2005.

Part of a burnt-out eyesore on Wells quayside could be revitalised as a café and wine bar.

The former Yellow Shop was destroyed by fire along with the neighbouring Gray's Arcade in January 2005.

Both buildings have been boarded up since then, but plans have been drawn up by Lincolnshire-based business-man Chris Isaac to revitalise his part of the property, which used to sell stoves.

The ideas have not yet been submitted to district planners, but were sent to Wells Town Council to gauge members' opinions before a formal application was made.

Town clerk Keith Leesmith told a meeting of the council's planning committee on Monday night that the proposed development would include a wine bar or café business with accommodation on the upper floors.

Councillors welcomed the ideas, but raised concerns about the height of the planned four-storey building, reiterating an earlier condition that it should be no taller than the Golden Fleece pub.

Committee chairman Mike Gates said: “We should say we welcome the redevelopment of an unsightly part of the quay, but we have a concern about whether the height and the design is in keeping with the quay's landscape and charisma.”

Town councillor Gary Anthony said: “With what we have got there at the moment you could say that anything would be better. But we don't want something that has the potential to look grotesque on the Wells sea front.

“We have a unique opportunity to get something better. From these drawings the architecture looks good as long as the height is kept under control.”

The meeting heard that an ongoing legal dispute within the Gray family concerning ownership of the neighbouring arcade was still preventing any development plans for the rest of the site.

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