PLANS to convert a grade-II listed building into a ‘modern and exciting’ food hall in Kendal have been given the green light.

Westmorland and Furness Council has approved plans from Harper Construction and Dam Good Coffee Shop to transform Sand Aire House on Stramongate into a food-hall that ‘will breathe life back into the long-neglected building’.

According to planning documents the building was built in 1827 and was previously used as an insurance hall however the property has been ‘vacant’ for a number of years and previous owners have struggled to find an ‘effective economic use’.

The planning statement says: “The current climate in Kendal we feel would benefit from a fresh take on catering and how customers can experience Kendal. The vision is to create a modern and exciting venue that a wide spectrum of demographics can enjoy while still maintaining the character of the original building.”

The proposed development will have 11 kiosk units designed for food and drink vendors, a coffee bar, a gin bar, a dining area with 92 seats as well as toilet facilities. On the first floor it is proposed there will be 60 additional seats.

A planning statement adds: “We are sympathetic to the fact that this a grade II listed building and that original features should be respected however we do not intend to replicate original features with imitation parts and hope to add to the overall aesthetics inside of the building by adding contrasting modern fittings.

“This will move to preserve the history of the building that is left while creating a modern, bright space for people to relax in and kick starting a new chapter in the story of Sand Aire House.”

According to the planning statement the food-hall could having opening hours from 8am until 11pm ‘to optimise business benefits’ for vendors.

The planning application received 24 letters from neighbours – 13 in support, six making observations and five against.

Objectors said the proposed development would bring ‘significant noise’ and raised concerns over the scale of the development.

However those in favour said the food-hall would bring employment opportunities and would be a ‘welcome addition’ to Kendal.

Kendal Civic Society said: “Pleased that a proposal has come forward to bring this important building back into use helping to prevent further decay and ensure its future. The minimal intervention proposed to the internal structure will hopefully mean that any changes are reversible and superficial while enabling its proposed use.”

Westmorland and Furness Council granted the planning application with conditions on Tuesday (December 12).