A FORMER city nightclub which was once a well-known venue for punk and rock music could be replaced with 37 flats, it has been revealed.
A pre-planning application consultation has opened on plans to redevelop the former Zanzibar nightclub in Stow Hill, Newport, which was also previously the Baptist Chapel built in 1863.
The abandoned nightclub, which was severely damaged by a major fire in 2018, played host to one of the first gigs of Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols in 1976 when it was known as the Stowaway Club.
But after the grade-II-listed building was abandoned and then “significantly damaged” by a fire – which also engulfed the neighbouring grade-II listed Bethel Community Church – plans have come forward to redevelop the site into affordable housing.
The proposals involve “significant demolition of the existing building” – with the rear portion and modern extensions to be knocked down – but the historical façade of the chapel onto Stow Hill would be retained.
“It is proposed to completely demolish the building adjacent to the listed chapel and the modern extensions,” a design and access statement says.
“However, the façade of the chapel itself will be retained and restored to its former appearance.”
The new homes have been designed to meet the needs of people on the council’s housing register in Stow Hill and would be managed by the site owner, Linc Cymru.
Two blocks of flats are proposed, made up of 26 one-bedroom apartments and 11 two-bedroom apartments.
Plans include a shared parking court with 18 spaces, 14 cycle spaces, a communal garden and a bin store.
“It is clear that the site offers the potential to deliver a well thought out, high quality sustainable residential development,” a design and access statement says.
A heritage impact statement says the building is in “a frail condition” following alterations, abandonment and a fire.
“Only the façade appears to be worthy of conservation,” it says.
“The demolition of the body of the chapel and the neighbouring building to the south is understood to be unavoidable.”
The statement says no other “viable proposal” has come forward since the building was abandoned in 2010.
Separate plans have already been approved to repair the neighbouring Bethel Community Church, and restoration work is scheduled to be completed next February.
A heritage impact statement says the restoration of the church will be made “simpler and arguably more successful” if the “unsalvageable parts of the chapel are cleared at the same time”.
A pre-planning application consultation on the plans runs until April 13.