Historic town building gets approval for new shop front

By Desmond Pugh   |   Senior reporter and photographer   |
Monday 1st November 2021 11:00 am
@monbeacon
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Planning permission has been given to alter a shop front of an historic Monmouth building.

The Grade II listed Malthouse in St Mary’s Street has been given the green light to replace elements of the existing ’historic design’ shopfront, installing a new stallriser and panelled pilasters. The glazing bars are to be removed, and a glazed front installed. The existing fascia and corbels of the shopfront are being retained.The applicant, Steven Gill, is looking to restore the building to its former glory after years of alterations and "badly-judged use of modern materials".Previous attempts to provide a sound financial basis for the retention of the building resulted in the well-meaning improvements hiding the original artefacts and structures of the 19th century malt house and led to insolvency.Mr Gill has already removed the partitioning to the three floor levels of the maltings revealing the original maltings features such as the kiln, steep and hoists.Although the Malthouse has returned to its original heritage value, it still requires significant repair and restoration of the building fabric. Since the building ceased producing malt in the early 20th century, it has had a number of uses and has also been empty for long periods. In recent years achieving a financially viable use has been hampered by the lack of a second means of escape from the building in case of fire. In 2009 the South Wales Fire Service issued a prohibition notice for the then user of the Dragon’s Den restaurant. That has since been lifted but only to allow use of the residential part of the building at the front. Recently a new stepped safe access has been created into the main part of the building. According to the Heritage Impact Assessment by Hernon Associates, the current shopfront is a mid-20th century alteration inserted when this part of the building was a coffee shop: "The style is heavily articulated and not appropriate for the age and Georgian character of the façade". It adds the shopfront is in a "poor condition with rotted timbers which have been patch-repaired many times".It is proposed to repair the surround to the shop front, replace the existing stall riser with a masonry one and replace the shopfront door and windows with a more sympathetic style. Mr Gill’s objective is to uncover, preserve and repair the historic industrial heritage of Monmouth’s only surviving malt house so visitors can appreciate the processes from delivery of barley through steeping, germinating, malting and drying to make the malt.The MaltHouse has recently been recognised by the award of a blue plaque by Monmouth Civic Society. Planning permission was given by Monmouthshire County Council on October 21.

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