Former social club in Wisbech could become a family home

Astral House, Old Market, Wisbech Astral House, Old Market, Wisbech

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
12:39 PM

A 300 year old former RAF social club in Wisbech could be turned into a home if planners give the idea their approval.

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Astral House, a Grade II listed building in Old Market in the town centre, is deteriorating according to a report going to Fenland District Council, and would be best given a complete overhaul to turn it into a home.

The Georgian property was the RAF Association base for 30 years but the cost of maintenance and upkeeping it has strained the finances of the association, according to a report.

“The building has therefore suffered something of a decline in standard of maintenance.

“While the building shell has remained largely stable, failure of roof flashings and rainwater provisions have allowed penetration of water and associated damage to interior finishes.”

Rising damp is causing problems in the basement, which the previous owner has addressed with an invasive silicon injection into the basement walls, the report says.

There are signs of structural instability and although the current owner has undertaken a programme of basic repair and remedial works there has been damage to ceilings, wall plasterings and allowed the development of dry rot in limited areas of the timber floors, the report adds.

The owner hopes to convert the building from an underused social club and return it to its original use as a “residence with a light touch” which will strip out the modern additions and return as much as possible to the buildings “original classic simplicity.”

The room to be affected most by the problems has been the main bar which they want to change to a large reception room with detailing to match the rest of the house.

The modern toilet blocks have moved away from the main building and show signs of serious degradation of the structure steel.

Additional bathrooms are proposed on the upper floors as well as basic provision on the entrance level.

The application is to be discussed by Fenland District Council’s planning committee.

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