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Conservative Club chimneys could go up in smoke

A pair of chimneys on a town centre building had to be shortened because they were “a danger to the public”.

The two structures, on the roof of the Conservative and Unionist Club on High Street, were each reduced by 50cm.

Work on the grade two listed building, which was built in 1907, began in August last year and was finished the following month, but the district council is only now expected to make a decision on a planning application for the changes.

Because the work has already been carried out, the application will be considered retrospectively and could mean that the chimney stacks would have to be returned to the way they were, if the authority decides the alterations contravene planning rules.

The application said: “The reason for this change is to make them safe and secure, because they were in a dangerous state of repair and a danger to the public.”
Prior to the pandemic, County Coun Keith Flunder held his surgery in the building every month.

He said: “The club had a bit of hassle. Effectively, the council said the club couldn’t do the work without planning permission, even though there was a safety issue. Someone went up and looked at the chimneys and said they needed to get sorted, because they could cause problems in high winds.

“I am pleased that they have solved that problem. The building is getting on a bit now and they’re trying to use it for different purposes; it’s a very good social hub. For those who use it, which is mostly during the day and at weekends. It is a very important social resource.”

Biddulph Town Council, a consultee to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, was expected to make advisory comments on the plans at a meeting on Tuesday, after the Chronicle’s deadline.

The higher-tier district council will make a final decision on the plans after the public consultation period ends on 3rd June.

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