Plans to turn fire-hit Rushden pub into restaurant and bar could be approved tonight

The aftermath of the fire at the former Feathers pub in Rushden High Street (picture by Mark Bonnett)The aftermath of the fire at the former Feathers pub in Rushden High Street (picture by Mark Bonnett)
The aftermath of the fire at the former Feathers pub in Rushden High Street (picture by Mark Bonnett)
The pub was badly damaged by fire just four months after closing in January 2018 and has been covered in scaffolding and screening ever since

A pub which was badly damaged by fire just months after closing could be brought back to life as a restaurant and bar if plans get the go-ahead tonight (Thursday).

Kilburn Investments Limited has applied for change of use and works to create a restaurant and bar with eight self-contained flats at 105 High Street in Rushden.

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It was The Feathers pub for many years before becoming the Fate club.

But it closed in January 2018 and just four months later a fire caused significant damage to the property.

The building has remained damaged since and has been enclosed by scaffolding and covers which have screened the site.

The applicant wants to bring the once popular destination back into use and by doing so, bring economic and social benefits to the community.

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It is proposed that the building will have a similar appearance to that of the existing building prior to its fire damage.

The footprint and scale of the building is similar.

The front elevation will keep the traditional appearance in terms of the use of materials and the roof is to have a similar hipped appearance, but is to include four rooflights and a centrally located chimney.

A report prepared for councillors who will be discussing the application tonight states: "In heritage terms, the building in its current state is harmful to the conservation area as it is clearly in need of significant works following the fire damage.

"The continued placement of temporary screening and scaffolding around it is an unpleasant sight, harming the High Street.

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"The proposed works to redevelop the building and reinstall it to close to its former appearance, whilst bringing back its active use and viability, is a heritage benefit."

The proposed access utilises a one-way system using the access off the High Street and an exit onto West Street.

A total of 17 parking spaces are proposed to serve the staff of the restaurant/bar and the residential properties above.

Planning officers have recommended that East Northants Council's planning management committee approve the plans at its meeting tonight.

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But while the recommendation is for approval, not everyone agrees.

Four representations from neighbours have been received, of which three are in objection.

Rushden Town Council is also objecting to the application over concerns it has about access to the parking at the back of the site.

The council also thinks there is insufficient parking to accommodate both customers to the proposed restaurant and the proposed residential scheme.

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However, the report for councillors concludes: "The development will provide real benefits to the vitality of the High Street and the provision of a restaurant/bar and residential accommodation is clearly supported by the Neighbourhood Plan.

"These matters weigh strongly in favour of the proposal.

"Whilst the access arrangements are not ideal, they would not be materially different to that which has existed with the public house and the proposal is acceptable in these terms.

"Taking all matters into account, the development provides real economic, social and heritage benefits and such should be supported."

Tonight's meeting starts at 6.30pm and is available to watch online.

For more details about the virtual meeting, click here

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