PLANS to change the use of a former ambulance station to a community facility have been recommended for approval.

Halstead Town Council discussed the plans for the Fenn Road site at a meeting on Monday.

Concerns were raised over the limited parking to accommodate proposed functions such parties and weddings.

A letter with the application said the premises had been bought by charitable organisation Halstead Community Shed.

The charity’s aims are to improve the health and wellbeing of the community, with a focus on loneliness and isolation in older men. 

The planning application seeks approval to use the building for a range of activities, including voluntary health care and well-being activities.

Halstead Gazette: Leader - Kevin PrykeLeader - Kevin Pryke (Image: N/a)

The plans also propose using the space for fundraising events and hire rooms to support the charity’s activities, as well as its operating costs.

The 'Men’s Shed' area is mainly for woodworking with hand tools and powered woodworking machines.

Men’s Sheds focus on bringing together the community and building friendships while sharing skills and knowledge.

A spokesman for Halstead Community Shed Trust said the St John Ambulance building offers a "unique chance", due to its size and design.

They said: "The large workshop is more than capable of housing the Shed.

"Whilst the shed would need access to other areas of the building such as the kitchen and toilets, the remaining training rooms offer a range of possibilities that could benefit the local community, whilst adhering to the covenants.

"The trust's principal aim remains unchanged to develop and support a Community Shed.

"However, the building offers the trust the opportunity to work with other groups with shared interests in the local community by creating a hub for health and wellbeing."

The trust investigated the possibility of sharing the building with other voluntary health groups and health professionals.

The spokesman said: "We contacted groups involved in the local community supporting residents with mental health issues, autism, dementia, Parkinson’s and disabled children.

"As well as Mid and North East Essex Mind and Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, there are several groups interested in using the St John Ambulance Station."

Braintree District Council will have the final say on the plans.