Shabby shop told to clean up its act

Formerly The Model Centre Too at 21 High Street, Hemel Hempstead.
Formerly The Model Centre Too at 21 High Street, Hemel Hempstead.

Officials have forced the owner of a shabby shop in Hemel Hempstead to spruce it up after more than a decade lying vacant.

Dacorum Borough Council served the site owner with an order to deal with the frontage of The Model Centre Too, which has featured grime, peeling paint and boarded up windows for years.

Mark Staincliffe, planning enforcement officer at the council, said: “The building is 21 and 21a High Street, Hemel Hempstead. Notice was served requiring the owner to repair and improve the unit.

“We have since been working with the site owner who is repairing the property to help improve its appearance.”

Planning permission was granted in 2000 to convert the shop – whose frontage is at least 70 years old – into a restaurant but the scheme was never carried out.

Two years later fresh plans to create a restaurant and wine bar were granted permission but again they never went ahead.

Councillor Terry Douris, cabinet member for planning and regeneration at the council, said: “The owner has responded very well and undertaken a significant level of improvement on the fascia of the property.

“I think in due course he maybe bringing a planning application for consideration.

“That will play an important role in re-energising the old town.”

Work was due to start this month revamping the High Street, which will be turned one-way and have a gateway installed, but this has been put back until after Christmas to avoid impacting sales at the shops in the busy festive period.