A plan to create five flats for homeless families at a riverside Hereford spot has been approved at the third attempt.

Vennture, a social charity in the city, wanted to convert part of the Victorian former vicarage beside its Vicarage Road headquarters, which it bought in 2021.

Previous attempts were rejected for failing to show that the building, formerly run by the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service, was no longer required for community use. Concerns over noise, and the potential impact on bats, were also judged not to have been adequately dealt with.


With these points addressed in the resubmitted attempt, the sole objectors to the plan were 12 members of the public.

Ms S Crawshaw said that, following investment of £1 million of public money 20 years ago to install facilities for public use, the building had been “a thriving venue”, and had been intended as such “in perpetuity”.

Elaine Underwood said she “hoped that a more balanced mix of uses, reflecting the needs, views and support from the community, will be found” for the building.


But a letter from Vennture’s agents said it had been unable to find an “anchor tenant” for the building, and that the Scout hut in Crozen Lane and the Pavilion on Castle Green would anyway shortly provide alternative nearby venues for community uses.

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Herefordshire Council’s head of community wellbeing Hilary Hall said Vennture’s “innovative well researched proposal will meet a need which the council is acutely aware of and is very keen to address”.

The council’s planning officer Simon Rowles concluded that “there remain some shortcomings as regards compliance” with the county’s policy on retaining community facilities.

But he judged that the re-use of the building would be “sustainable, with an appropriate level of social benefits compensating for the partial loss of ‘overt’ community function”.