Ambitious Masham plans given go ahead

An ambitious heritage and community project in the heart of Masham has been granted planning permission by Harrogate Borough Council.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 11:45 am

The project will see the former grocery store Reah’s, on 15 Silver Street, converted into a community space while retaining its use as a shop.

Created and run by local people, Peacock and Verity Community Spaces will include a heritage grocery store, Post Office counter, Edwardian-style tearoom, heritage centre, and much-needed affordable rental accommodation for local people. It is set to open in 2022.

Alan Hodges, Chairman of the Peacock and Verity Community Spaces Board, said: “Peacock and Verity Community Spaces is delighted that the vision and hard work of our Directors, staff, and partners has been recognised by Harrogate’s planners.

“Our architect, surveyors, heritage and business advisors, and housing association partners have been working on this project for several years, and we are now much closer to bringing the whole building back to life.”

He added: “We are very thankful for the financial support of Homes England, Harrogate Borough Council, and the Architectural Heritage Fund, and the crucial technical support from our other partners including CEAD Architects and Broadacres Housing Association that have enabled us to reach this exciting position.”

The shop has been at the heart of Masham for well over 200 years, and the backing from Harrogate Borough Council means that Peacock and Verity will continue to serve its community long into the future.

The renovation of the building will include the creation of a living historical grocery of the 1850s, selling pantry staples by weight, combining traditional retail with modern low-packaging practices.

There will also be an Edwardian-style tearoom, recalling the store’s heyday before the outbreak of the Great War, as well as the return of a much-missed permanent Post Office counter to Masham.

A community history and education centre based around the building’s bakehouse with its Victorian cast-iron bread ovens will celebrate the story of Masham, which doesn’t currently have a heritage centre or museum.

Workshops and activities will take place to celebrate and develop the town’s traditional skills, trades, products and farming heritage.

Four desperately needed affordable rental apartments will be created for local people on the building’s first and second floors.

Capital funding support is being sought from major grant-giving bodies who have not only recognised the community benefits of the project, but also acknowledge the importance of preserving one of Masham’s most historic retail buildings in the centre of the Conservation Area.

Coun Mike Chambers, Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities at Harrogate Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to have supported Peacock and Verity Community Spaces in this exciting and ambitious project which will breathe new life into a prominent town centre building and create much needed, affordable homes for local people.

“It is the first community - led scheme in the district to have reached this stage.

“We look forward to continuing to work with all partners as the building is restored to its former glory - a fitting testimony to Masham’s rich heritage.”

Now that planning has been granted, the building can be bought, and immediate repairs and project details can be finalised.