A BID to turn a former estate agents into three flats has been turned down.

A planning application was submitted to Maldon District Council to repurpose the former Bairstow Eves Building in Maldon High Street into four individual units.

The plans included the refurbishment and extension of the historic building to create a ground floor work unit and one-bedroom ground floor flat, and two one-bedroom first floor flats.

The proposal also included an upgrade to the existing 19th century shop front to "return it to the traditional character it once had".

The rear extension would've added 32m2 in gross internal area over two floors.

The applicant states Bairstow Eves had employed three staff and so said the 37m2 proposed work unit would be "more than sufficient" to continue to allow 3 people to work in the space.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: TURNED DOWN: The proposed front elevation planned for the former Bairstow Eves branch in Maldon High StreetTURNED DOWN: The proposed front elevation planned for the former Bairstow Eves branch in Maldon High Street

Parts of the building date back to the 14th century, according to the design and access statement prepared by architects Annabel Brown.

Listed building consent was granted recently for internal and external works to the building such as exposure of historic plaster, timber and fireplaces and a replacement shopfront.

But the revamp bid had proved controversial with the town council recommending refusal due to "the overdevelopment of the site, the cramped living space and lack of residential amenity" and the "loss of retail space in the High Street".

The Maldon Society had also objected to the plans.

A spokesman for the society said: "The provision of four dwelling units is overdevelopment of the premises and considerably reduces the floor area of retail space within the High Street business area.

"The amount of amenity space, which will be further reduced by refuse and recycling storage, is insufficient.

"The integrity of the 15th/16th century building will be compromised by the substantial extent of structural alterations needed to form the four dwelling units."

Maldon District Council refused the plans citing concerns over loss of employment space and the "cramped arrangement" of the proposed development.

It said the "cramped arrangement" would mean the occupiers of the proposed properties and nearby existing properties would not benefit from adequate outlook, sunlight or private amenity space.