Plans to transform a town's former fire and ambulance station into flats are going through an appeals process.

Zeeshan Farooq had wanted to turn the grade II listed building on Bungay's Lower Olland Street into two flats.

However that planning bid was refused by East Suffolk Council.

Mr Farooq has now appealed against that decision.

East Suffolk Council had stated that the design was "inappropriate" and it "has not been demonstrated" that the proposed development preserves or enhances the special character and appearance of the Conservation Area.

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Beccles & Bungay Journal: Side view of the former fire and ambulance stationSide view of the former fire and ambulance station (Image: Bruno Brown)

The district council outlined the necessity of maintaining the "character or appearance" of that area.

Upon visiting the vacant town centre building, inspectors determined that the building "as providing suitable habitat for protected and/or UK Priority species (under Section 41 of the Natural Environmental and Rural Communities Act 2006) in particular, roosting bats and nesting birds".

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Beccles & Bungay Journal: The Dutch gables make the building unique in its character and appearanceThe Dutch gables make the building unique in its character and appearance (Image: Bruno Brown)

They therefore said that an "ecological assessment of the site by a suitably qualified ecologist is therefore required prior to determination" to see if bats live in the empty building.

East Suffolk Council, in the documents, also confirm that the ecological inspection to confirm whether bats are living in the building is yet to have taken place, though it is listed as one of the reasons for refusal.

There were also concerns raised in the documents that the building would "fail to accommodate adequate storage" of refuse and recycling bins.

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Beccles & Bungay Journal: Front view of the historic grade II listed town centre building at the centre of a planning disputeFront view of the historic grade II listed town centre building at the centre of a planning dispute (Image: Bruno Brown)

Bungay Town Council also rejected the plans to convert the building on a number of grounds.

It said the plans would be an "overdevelopment", and the materials are "inappropriate", there is a "lack of parking", and plans threaten the "iconic doors which tell the history of the building".

In the town conservation area appraisal, it reads: "The former fire station of 1930 on the corner of Wharton Street is one of the most prominent landmarks in the street, its curved gables reflecting those of the seventeenth-century almshouses which once occupied the site."

Beccles & Bungay Journal: Stone in tribute to Dame Christian WhartonStone in tribute to Dame Christian Wharton (Image: Bruno Brown)