Monday, September 16, 2019

News: Grimm & Co expansion plans heading for approval


Grimm & Co, the innovative literacy charity in Rotherham, has received positive reviews for its £1.3m expansion plans which are booked in for approval by the planning board this week.

Rothbiz reported first that a planning application had been submitted for reimagining the Talbot Lane Methodist Church in the town centre as a much larger premises for the charity, affording it greater possibilities to deliver its mission to change lives one story at a time.

The plans are being recommended for approval by planning officers and have attracted support around the reuse of the building but also objections, the majority relating to heritage impacts.

Opening in a former pub in 2016, the Apothecary to the Magical sells wild schemes, evil plots, charms, curses and kitchenware. It was recently voted "No. 159 best shop for all things wicked" by Witch? magazine.

Above the shop, the Yorkshire charity runs innovative storytelling and writing workshops for children in the local area, to unleash their imaginations and build confidence, self-respect and communication skills. Since its inception, Grimm & Co has educated and engaged 9,300 children in school trips and workshops.

The plans include converting the Grade II listed church and extra space would enable three schools to visit at once. Introducing a food & beverage offer – "The Book & Broomstick" - is also in the plans.


Introducing a new floor into the building was deemed by consultants to harm the significance of the listed building and so plans have been amended which now show the retention of more pews, the retention of the pulpit and the introduction of double height space by cutting back the balcony further.

Addressing concerns, the applicant said: "We believe the benefit to Rotherham, its reputation, its community and its next generation is timely and also far outweighs the impact of the scheme, which we will work on to reduce any negative impact on the building.

"This scheme will also provide an exciting new story destination for the town that celebrates reading and writing and will bring much needed positive publicity, helping to change perceptions of Rotherham to that of truly being a child friendly borough.
"Lastly, our community will have a resource to be proud of, providing a level of ownership and value. So, I hope all observers can feel reassured that we will do all that we can to preserve the building's history wherever possible. However, inevitably, in order to be able to offer teaching and learning, and to make sure we are able to make everyone welcome, we will need to make changes."

Overall, planners conclude: "The proposed development would ensure that this Listed Building remains in community use and avoids the building laying empty, potentially falling into disrepair. The proposal would have some harm on the Heritage Assets though this would be "less than substantial" and it is considered that the public benefits outweigh the harm in this instance. In addition, the scheme satisfies all other material planning considerations."

Grimm & Co. website

Images: Grimm & Co / Halliday Clark


M Benson,  September 16, 2019 at 7:12 PM  

Far better to use the site for something that brings visitors and provides services for local children than the building falling into disrepair and\or being demolished.

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