Plans to rejuvenate an iconic Hereford riverside building have been approved.

The Castle Green Pavilion near the cathedral is to receive £1.5 million from the Government’s Stronger Hereford fund, which is to cover a range of improvements in the city worth £22 million in all.

The “revitalised” building will include a café, community meeting space, local arts and heritage centre, and a revamped home for a local youth canoeing group.

It was transferred in 2018 to local voluntary group Friends of Castle Green, which has worked with city and county councils and the wider community to bring forward the plans. But until today (November 23) it lacked planning permission and listed building consent for the work.

The group’s chairman Paddy Nugent told Herefordshire Council’s planning committee this morning: “These plans come with a plea to grasp the opportunity before us and work with us to make this project come alive for our community.”

He added: “Just this week we have had the agreement through from the Towns Fund. With this approved we hope to move forward with the plans early next year.”

RELATED NEWS:

Ward councillor Jeremy Milln congratulated the friends group for their “vision and diligence” for preparing the scheme, which “has the capacity to be a huge asset for the county”.

He added the grade II-listed Regency classical building was on “self-evidently a particularly sensitive site” but had been “spoiled” by later “clumsy and insensitive” additions which now be removed.

He welcomed the planned new extension to the building, which the council’s historic buildings officer had questioned, as “a link to the old but set apart from it” which would “show that the 21st century can be a period of architectural renaissance”.

Committee chair Coun Terry James said: “What’s not to like this?” and following a supportive debate, the planning permission and listed building consent were granted unanimously.

The friends group said it expects to issue an invitation to tender for the work early next month. It can be contacted on operations@friendsofcastlegreen.org.uk .