IT IS one of Southampton’s most recognisable historic buildings.
Now the Wool House in Town Quay will be converted into a brew house and restaurant after city planners gave proposals the green light.
The application was put forward by the Dancing Man Brewery to convert the building, which was most recently an art house, into the city’s first brew house.
It will also house a tourist information centre – the first one since the previous one at the Civic Centre was closed by the city council in 2013. Once completed, the building will host a micro-brewery, a bar, and seating area on the ground floor, while the first floor will contain seating and a kitchen area.
The application revealed much of the fit-out will be kept away from the original stone walls, and the building’s original fabric will also remain on show.
The decision was made by Southampton City Council’s planning panel yesterday.
The building could reopen as early as August, and could create 30 new jobs.
Its co-owners said historical features will remain prominent, including some graffiti written by French prisoners when it served as a jail in 1711.
They plan to set up historical exhibitions with unique historical artefacts which will be rotated and updated regularly.
Co-owner Mandy Lacey-Cross insisted condensers will ensure moisture from the brewing process will not damage the brickwork and equipment will be contained inside the building to ensure it does not spread to neighbouring homes.
They will brew around six types of beer, plus one off special beers.
But as reported by the Daily Echo, the plans stirred up controversy last year and led to more than 240 people signing a petition to retain it as a community art centre.
There was also a protest outside the building as art lovers pleaded with council bosses to scrap plans to convert it.
Mrs Lacey-Cross, 49, said: “We are totally delighted and we really can’t wait to get the keys and get in there and start brewing.
“It’s great to have the building open again and we have endless possibilities with the chance for exhibitions, artists and musicians.
“We are a creative business in a beautiful building and we will mix that with good food and beer.”