Protesters step up their mission to stop a Harborough café bar being turned into flats

“The superb staff at Louisa’s Place were very grateful that we went along to take action and generously donated coffees to us"

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 11:38 am
Fourteen protesters gathered outside Lousisa's Place on Monday morning to show their support. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Protesters are stepping up their mission to stop a bid to turn a town centre café bar in Market Harborough into nine flats.

The campaign to block the attempt to convert Louisa’s Place on St Mary’s Road into apartments is growing day by day after the planning application was submitted to Harborough District Council.

Liz Adams, 64, has now staged a protest at the popular hospitality venue as she leads efforts to halt the plans in their tracks.

And almost 70 people have now formally objected to the Nim Communications Ltd scheme to the district council.

Today Liz told the Harborough Mail: “Our campaign is really starting to pick up pace and take off now.

“We decided to gather at Louisa’s Place on Monday morning (November 15) to highlight what we are doing.

“There were 14 people who lined up for the picture for the Mail and we really appreciate all their support.

“The superb staff at Louisa’s Place were very grateful that we went along to take action and generously donated coffees to us,” said Liz, of Farndon Fields, Market Harborough.

“A few of the customers at the café didn’t realise that the owners of the building want to turn it into flats.

“So it’s vital that we do all we can to alert people in Market Harborough and the surrounding area to the dire threat being posed to this fantastic spot.

“Somebody mentioned to me that they’re objecting to this project because Louisa’s Place is brilliant for disabled people as it has excellent access,” added the mother-of-two and grandmother-of-two.

“And that’s a fantastic point.

“Where will disabled people who love Louisa’s Place go to have a coffee and a chat with their friends and families if we lose it?

“I’m winning support all the time from all the exercise groups that I run in Market Harborough,” said Liz, whose husband Neil is “four square behind her”.

“And I’m sharing our fight on the Farndon Fields Facebook site as well.

“We have regular social get-togethers at Louisa’s Place and all being well we’ll have a special Christmas do there too in the next few weeks.

“We will carry on battling to head this scheme off at the pass and keep Louisa’s Place in Market Harborough for many years to come.”

Some 68 people had objected to the apartments venture to Harborough council by this morning (Tuesday) with none supporting it.

One protester said: “I think the lack of parking on this very busy artery road into the town, the already, hugely busy road, traffic fumes and the loss of a popular meeting venue are all detrimental to our lovely town centre.

“Following the awful few years we've all had to deal with to lose a popular meeting point would adversely impact many people's mental health.

“So much normality has already disappeared this would just negatively add to that.

“I really would not like to see this change in my home town.”

And another objector declared: “Please be advised of my objection to the proposed conversion of the well-established Louisa's Place to (yet more) residential flats.

“Having lived in our beautiful little town for 39 years I am utterly devastated that increased housing appears to take a precedence over facilities desperately needed for our community.

“Also please consider the amazing staff who continue to provide us with great service and well-needed support and friendship when life gets a little stressful.

“Such a beautiful, historical building is a treasure to the public of Market Harborough and we continue to be proud that visitors to our town can view and enjoy it.”

The building beside Louisa’s Place - which would also be caught up in the controversial blueprint – is used by HFT, a national charity which supports people across Harborough with learning disabilities.

Nim Communications Ltd, which owns the old Post Office building, wants to turn the site into five one-bedroom and four two bedroom apartments.

A document submitted by Nim Communications to Harborough council outlining their scheme says: “The owner of the site has recently reviewed their options and considers the conversion of the property to a series of residential apartments presents the most effective use of this town-centre site.

“Whilst the site is not itself a Listed Building, the site is located adjacent to the Market Harborough Conservation Area and within the vicinity of a number of designated heritage assets.

“Nevertheless, the proposed development does not require any significant external alterations to the property and, accordingly, it is not considered that the proposed development would result in any unacceptable detrimental impact upon the setting or character of any designated (or non-designated) heritage assets, nor the town’s Conservation Area.”