Empty office block in Waltham Abbey could become flats

An office block in Waltham Abbey which has laid empty for more than a year could be turned into flats.

Shivisi Investments Ltd. wants to turn the upper floors of Trinity House into 10 new apartments, according to a planning notice submitted to Epping Forest District Council.

A covering letter by Allen Planning Ltd accompanying the notice say the building was previously used as offices but the last tenants moved out on July 12, 2021.

The bottom floors have already been given approval to be converted into an additional two apartments, according to the letter.

A section reads: “We can confirm that it is not proposed to undertake any external alterations to this building as part of these proposals.

“The site is formed by a three storey (with small part fourth storey) curved office building at the junctions of Sun Street and Sewardstone Road.

A later section reads: “The site is currently vacant in its entirety but was last used as offices. In addition to the extant approval of the upper floors and there is also a prior notification consent for the ground floor to be converted to form two residential apartments.”

The developers are proposing to convert the building under permitted development rights, which allow improvement or extensions to buildings without needing planning permission.

There is no article four direction for Trinity House, an order which forces landowners to seek full planning permission before converting their sites, according to the letter.

As a result, council officers are likely to decide on whether to approve the plans, rather than the council’s planning committee.

According to the letter, there will be no material issues from flooding or ground contamination or noise disturbances.

The flats would have “adequate natural light” and would not increase the number of cars on the roads compared with the site’s previous office use. However, there is no dedicated off-site parking.

Consultation over changing the use of the site in Sewardstone Road from office space to residential use is set to end on August 8.

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Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter