Old Lancaster bed shop to be student flats

Vision: An artist's impression of the new flats
Vision: An artist's impression of the new flats
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A well-known building is to get a makeover after plans for student flats were given the go-ahead.

The former Bensons For Beds shop in Brock Street, Lancaster, is to be converted into student accommodation over three floors, with new retail space on the ground floor.

The building dates back to 1844 when it was built as an Oddfellows Hall.

The plans, submitted by Inayat Munshi, who also owns the Sultan of Lancaster across the road, include dormer windows on the roof to make the best use of the space – which will comprise of 35 studio apartments.

The narrow pavement at the front of the building is also due to be widened.

Surprise was expressed at the city council’s planning committee meeting at Lancaster Town Hall on Monday that this wasn’t a listed building.

Council leader Eileen Blamire described the building as “imposing”, adding: “It’s a real improvement.”

There will be cycle storage for 10 bikes inside the building.

Coun Malcolm Thomas said that the development would receive criticism because of the dormers on the roof.

He said: “I think that the dormers should be restricted to the rear of the building only.”

The committee did not agree however, and Coun Thomas’ motion was not carried.

The Oddfellows Hall was constructed to serve local branches of the Oddfellows society – a benevolent and mutual aid organisation.

After that, the ground floor of the building was used for residential housing.

It is not yet clear when work will start on the building, as Mr Munshi was not available to speak to as the Lancaster Guardian went to press.