MONMOUTH branch of Peacocks is set to be rebuilt just after a year after it was gutted by fire.
The blaze ripped through the Wales-based fashion chain’s store in Monmouth just after 9am on Monday, May 23 last year forcing the evacuation of neighbouring shops and the closure of Monnow Street which led to hours of congestion around the town.
More than 40 fire crews from across south Wales, helped by crews from the Hereford and Worcester and Gloucester brigades, raced to the scene to tackle the blaze with smoke still billowing from the smoldering building eight hours later. The South Wales Fire Service later said it was likely the fire had started due to “accidental ignition”.
The shop, now covered by scaffolding, has remained closed ever since with the building badly damaged but plans to redevelop it have been approved by Monmouthshire County Council’s planning department.
The application was submitted by Swanston Holdings through a Stratford-on-Avon-based planning agent.
A condition of the permission requires the building has to be used for Class A1 uses, which are retail shops, with the sale of hot food not allowed, which the council says “retains the vitality and viability of the town centre”.
The application was for the “erection of replacement retail building following fire”.
Council planning officer Jo Draper said the building that was left unusable due to fire damage was “essentially a modern replica” but still considered to make a “particularly positive contribution to the character and importance of Monmouth Town Conservation Area” on the main commercial street due to its “scale with Victorian form of three projecting bays and shopfront below”.
It’s planned to reinstate the ground floor retail unit and the remaining front elevation will be removed and replicated, with the rendered walls, pitched slate roof and all existing openings, including the timber shopfront, recreated.
Behind the traditional shop frontage, the former ground floor will be rebuilt to provide retail space.
At the back of the shop, which faces Monnow Keep, former annexes will be replaced with a single storey extension. Previous plans for a two storey extension with windows, that would have overlooked neighbouring homes, have been dropped.
Ms Draper’s report stated: “The replacement scheme to the rear of the building represents a positive improvement in terms of local amenity due to the improvement in design making it a more visually attractive building to look direct onto and the significant reduction in scale and mass.”
The council’s conservation officer also has no concerns as rebuilding the front of the building “almost identically” will “preserve the special interest” of it and neighbouring buildings in the conservation area.
The officer noted: “The building has been so fire damaged in 2022, there is no option to retain the damaged interiors which have been almost entirely cleared from site for safety and blight reasons; and nonetheless were likely modern.”
A construction site traffic management plan, setting out how neighbours will be protected from the work when it will take place, will also have to be submitted for the council’s approval.
Peacocks were contacted for comment.