£1m plan to convert derelict building


Sarah Staples

A DERELICT building in Oswestry town centre could be given a new lease of life by a community group.
The Project Group, an arts-based community interest company, plans to take on the former B-Wise store on Cross Street, which has been empty for more than a decade and has fallen into disrepair.
But project bosses believe around £1 million is needed to make renovation work viable.
The building, which was originally part of the former Regal Cinema, has suffered extensive wear with plaster falling from the walls and pigeons roosting throughout.
Speaking at Oswestry Town Council’s annual meeting last week, Jo Davis, coordinator of The Project Group, said: “We will be going to the Heritage Lottery for financial support with this project.

“It is a beautiful building and if we could get it open it could be great.”
If successful, The Project Group will use the store as a front for their products and artwork and a base for their creative workshops.
The sale price of the building currently stands at £450,000.
Plans to rejuvenate the town centre shop were welcomed by councillors at the meeting, who offered support to the group.
Oswestry town councillor Sandy Best said: “I think their plans are really right, they need this space to continue their work. And the most important thing is for them to have that retail outfit because they will be taking on a building which is deteriorating rapidly.
“My initial reaction was that even a bit more money than what they suggested could be needed to make this work. When you look at restoration the prices can always rise up and by the time they finish the work, costs could have gone up a bit more.
“I do find it upsetting how the owners of these buildings can allow them to deteriorate and not do anything to improve them. It is a pity that the price of the building is as high as it is.
“I think they [The Project Group] have a good idea of what is viable and I trust with all my heart that it is going to work,” Councillor Best added.
Heather Noble, chairman of the Oswestry Chamber of Commerce, added: “It would be great to have someone in that building.
“We would wish them well in terms of securing funding and finding access to where it may lie. The Chamber would offer our help in any way should they need it,” she added.

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