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Residents relieved by flats plan for former nightclub

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

The old Chemistry nightclub

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RESIDENTS who campaigned against plans to reopen a former nightclub appear relieved at new proposals to turn it into flats.

An application has been put forward to turn the former Gas and Chemistry nightclub in St James' Square into eight flats.

Developers hope to return it to its former glory as a 19th- century piece of architecture.

Hildegard Holland, who lives in St James' Square, said residents would prefer the building to be used for flats to a nightclub.

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"When it was a nightclub, you would hear them coming out, singing and dancing on the streets, at 3am," she said.

"It would be much better for everyone if it became flats."

The work is being put together by Applied Town Planning, based in Birmingham, for the current owner Mike Gibson.

Paul Spivey, agent for the developer, said: "It has had a somewhat chequered past culminating in its dereliction in the 1970s followed by a fire which destroyed the internal structures and roof.

"The subsequent conversion to its last use as a bar and restaurant paid scant regard to the external character and qualities of the building."

Grade II-listed Gibson House was constructed in about 1805 and was originally two houses.

It became Gas bar and restaurant in the 1970s, running until 1989. It then traded as Chemistry until 2005.

Since then, the building has remained empty.

Mr Spivey admitted that the spot could become a hotspot for parking problems with no off-street parking being created as part of the scheme.

Members of the congregation at St Gregory's Roman Catholic Church and parents of children at St Gregory's Primary School, in St James' Square, all use the area during the week to park their cars.

But the agent insisted the benefits of giving the empty building a new lease of life far outweighed the issues.

Mr Spivey said: "This lack of designated car parking is not considered to outweigh the clear benefits of bringing this Listed Building back in to use."

The application is expected to be heard by Cheltenham Borough Council's planning committee on January 22.

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  • Steve_Thomas  |  November 29 2012, 11:22PM

    Pity, considering Cheltenham's history as a leisure resort. But at least it might stop the building deteriorating any further. Luminar really didn't look after it while they held the lease. I find it odd, thought, that Cheltenham Borough Council Refused Mr Gibson's application to reinstate the lapsed liquor licence (the original licence had simply lapsed and had never been revoked) and yet wave through Sainsburys' off-licence application for 70-72 High Street with scant regard for residents' concerns over increased litter, crime and disorder. When the idea for banning cheap take-away booze offers was first mooted, Sainsbury's were the only mainstream supermarket chain to say they would not support it (I have never shopped at Sainsbury's since they made this statement), yet this is the kind of outfit cbc wants to welcome to our High Street!

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  • NamChelt  |  November 29 2012, 4:05PM

    It was called Embassy and Knights before it was called Chemistry.

  • dibblebibble  |  November 29 2012, 3:26PM

    That's good. No need for yet another nightclub.