A LISTED building on Southampton’s Town Quay previously used as a naval squadron hangout is being turned into a wedding venue.

The imposing four-storey building at 1A Bugle Street will be operated by Occasion Queens after The Lovebug Group Limited won permission for the conversion.

Offices at the building will be turned into a seven-bedroom hotel, a mixed use venue centre, and wedding venue.

However, concerns on the accessibility were raised at the Planning and Rights of Way Panel last week.

One such concern came from David Illmore of the Spectre Access Group.

He was worried about the lack of disabled access to the building.

Mr Illmore said: “Everybody should be able to enjoy buildings open to the public including listed buildings.

“Twenty-seven years since the Disability Discrimination Act and we still get recommendations. Absolutely shameful.”

The venue will not have disabled toilets, despite the operating saying he will try to eventually change that.

Making structural changes to a listed building is a difficult and lengthy legal process.

Another concern was raised by Councillor John Savage at the meeting.

Cllr Savage said: “It is really important that we have equal access. We shouldn’t be skating around this and looking for a loophole in the listed building.”

Bob Camping, from Occasion Queens, attended the meeting and told of his ambitions in bringing the vacant building back to life.

He said: “It was a drinking establishment before. It was the squadron officers’ mess.

“The building is crying out to go back to what it was before – and that was a drinking establishment.”

Mr Camping went on to address the accessibility concerns.

He said: “It’s not as simple as putting in a lift. I am separately trying to rectify it but it will be a long process to find a solution.

“I really would like to resolve the issue.”

Despite the concerns raised, the plan was approved.

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