Plans have been put forward to turn the floors above two Hereford city-centre shops into ten flats.

The application for planning permission by James Manning of Manbro Developments proposes five flats on each of the upper two floors of 57 Commercial Street, currently The Works, and 58, previously Boots Opticians and currently vacant, along with the adjacent 3 St Peters Close.

The proposal would mean the loss of Novello’s Pool Bar and Sports Loft in the upstairs of 57 Commercial Street, which was only granted a licence at the start of this year.


Thought to be as old as the 17th century, the two main buildings were “jointly re-fronted in the mid-20th century to create a unified Art Deco inspired façade”, according to a heritage impact statement accompanying the bid.

Only 3 St Peters Close is listed, meaning listed building consent for the work is also required.

One flat would have two bedrooms, the other nine one apiece, and these would range from 37 to 69 square metres in floorspace. Each would be sold at market rate.


The rear two would be accessed from St Peter’s Close, the others via a new frontage on 58 Commercial Street, leading to a new stairwell.

A statement with the application says that according to local estate agency Glasshouse Properties, the city suffers from a “large shortage” of rental properties in general, and of “good quality, city-centre one-bedroom properties” in particular.

“They confirm a huge influx of single professionals moving to the area and trying to find somewhere to live, resulting in bidding wars as the competition is so strong for the limited availability,” the statement says.

Another estate agent, Stooke Hill & Walshe has also reported having seen “a huge increase in demand for rental properties, with most receiving multiple applications within 48 hours”, the application adds.

A noise impact assessment also accompanies the bid.

Manbro is behind several developments in the city including the reuse of the historic Booth Hall, round the corner from the Commercial Street properties, and also the nearby Bastion Mews development off Union Street.

Comments on the latest application, numbered 231773 (planning permission) and 231774 (listed building consent) can be made until July 27.