July 31 2014 Latest news:

AN application to convert a seaside landmark into five homes has been conditionally approved.

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Suffolk Coastal planners had deferred their decision to allow for a site visit to Ogilvie Hall in Thorpeness, which was used as a sports and social club but closed last September because owners said it was no longer financially viable.

The Alexander and Margaret Ogilvie Club Charity proposed to turn the building into five residential units, while maintaining its outer appearance.

A council development committee has now endorsed the conversion, subject to the charity providing money for affordable housing and contributions to play and sports from the sale of the five new properties - comprising three four-bed units and two three-bed units.

The hall was built in 1925 as a theatre for Thorpeness owner Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie’s plays but was more recently used as a library and social club and operated by a members club, known as the Thorpeness Sports and Social Club, which became no longer able to afford ongoing maintenance and repairs.

Charity trustees agreed the building could not be sustained and that the Sports and Social Club should be transferred to the nearby sports ground and the pavilion where, in keeping with the charity’s charter that any funds raised will be directly invested back into the local community, it is hoped facilities can be improved and extended.

For consent to be granted, a total of £100,000 in Section 106 money will also have to be commuted for Waveney District Council to spend on affordable housing, which parish council chairman Eric Atkinson wants to see built in Thorpeness itself. He said: “We hope the results of a recent social housing survey will show the local authority a need for the money to be used locally.

“We had initial concerns with the application in terms of maintaining the exterior, but we feel the planners have done all they can to secure that.

“The charity is there to support social activities in the parish and also owns the pavilion and sports field. Investment there, and in social housing within the parish, would be the best outcome, given that the hall was proved otherwise unsustainable.

“This can be a real opportunity to take the pavilion and sports field forward and make them even better for everyone.”

The application had received five letters of objection from immediate neighbours and users of the building, expressing concern over the loss of a community facility which had been used as a meeting place and occasionally hired out for private functions.

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