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Fire-hit Indian restaurant boss’ bid to re-open in listed building

Alfreton fire in New Bengal indian restaurant
Alfreton fire in New Bengal indian restaurant

The owner of an Alfreton restaurant which was ravaged by a fire last year has revealed plans to move to a historic and disused building in the town centre.

The New Bengal Balti and Tandoori Restaurant, in King Street, has been closed since the blaze in May 2017.

Now owner Afzalur Rahman has put forward plans to Amber Valley Borough Council to transform the vacant Grade II-listed former Kings Banqueting Hall in Chesterfield Road into seven flats, a restaurant and a fast-food takeaway

It is thought that the proposals would create 12 full-time and three part-time jobs at the ground-floor restaurant and takeaway.

A statement submitted with the application argues that the vacant building should to be brought back into use to liven up the town centre.

It reads: “As with many towns in England, the town centre has fallen into decline, what was built as a proud and prominent town centre hotel, is now (in the original part), converted to rented flats and in a shabby state.

“The buildings that are the subject of this application have been vacant for many years and are falling into decay. It is submitted that this is an issue common to many towns in England and is a consequence of the changes in the way we live and driven by the preference of people to drive to out of town shopping centres or to large multiple supermarkets. The applicant’s desire to convert the building to a restaurant and flats has a lot to do with economic viability and it is hoped that this proposal will enable the building to be restored and its use sustained.

“The conversion to a restaurant with apartments over is a financially viable proposition and, in this regard provides a solution that is both sustainable and will benefit the town centre in terms of both improvement of built form, an increased population and additional facilities in the form of a restaurant.”

Auction listings for the Grade-II listed property, valued at £195,000, state that the building has planning permissions from previous submissions for both flats, a restaurant and a fast-food takeaway.

It gained listed status due to its connection to the former George Hotel, on the corner of Chesterfield Road and Church Street, which dates back to the 18th century.

The applicant is arguing that the former banquet hall section should not be listed.

The building also lies within the Alfreton Conservation Area and as such, any proposal must make sure that it either preserves or enhances the character and appearance of the area.