Published: 06:00, 03 October 2020
Plans for an art gallery to expand its studio to reveal Grade II listed wine vaults have received overwhelming support.
Almost 50 people have backed a planning application for Taylor Jones & Son to open up the basement below its shop in the conservation area of Deal .
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the High Street business says it has had a busy year and needs more space to function properly.
Business owners Sonja and Richard Taylor-Jones say the building’s basement, containing the Grade II features, is “perfect to grow into” but its Listed status presents a “hurdle”.
They say: said: "The only sensible way to access it is to build a staircase down from the gallery above.
"This means cutting a hole in the floor - and we are in a Grade II listed building.
"Cutting holes in the floors of such buildings is regulated, as it should be, by the the conservation officer in our local council.
"It would mean removing an area of floorboards, a length of joists and area of ceilings below.
"Whilst the floorboards and ceilings are not original, it is possible the joists might be - and this is what the conservation officers will be looking at.
"We hope the benefits of opening up this new space to the public, which unusually for Deal contains fascinating Grade 2 Listed wine vaults, outweigh the partial removal of the joists.
"We think it will help keep the historic heart of Deal alive, bringing something new and exciting to the town."
The application also covers the installation of a new timber and glazed staircase to run from the existing ground floor down to the basement.
A total of 48 people have voiced their support while no objections have been raised.
David Macdonald said: "The opening of the wine vaults will make a piece of history open again to Deal and its visitors."
Michelle Martin said: "Opening up an unused space in this amazing building will only bring pleasure to those who treasure architecture and coupled with the fact this company are bringing art to all seems like a fantastic idea."
Paul Jolliffe said: "At present, the unused and architecturally interesting space below the gallery cannot be seen and appreciated by the general public.
"The proposed sympathetic alteration will allow access which, in addition to allowing others to enjoy its features, will support the viability of an independent well managed business."
To view the application in full and have your say, go to DDC's Planning Portal and search 20/01059.