Here at Martin Walsh Architectural, we often speak of creating buildings that work harder; for the business in terms of supporting growth and efficiencies; for individuals in providing a comfortable and inspiring environment to innovate and work; and for the community. This is precisely what one of our most recent projects, Spinners Fisheries, has done!
Last year our clients Simon and Sofia Render, literally drove by a new business opportunity. They spotted The Spinners Arms in Dewsbury and recognised that this could be the perfect spot for their next venture.
Despite the pandemic, this ambitious couple were looking to invest in a new fish shop. Luckily, they had the vision to see beyond the shell of a run-down pub and instead identify with a building that sat at the heart of a community.
That’s the thing about buildings, they are more than bricks and mortar. They hold memories, help to identify locations and are often a symbol of ‘home’.
For the Mirfield couple, the building felt right, and an offer was made on the same day they viewed the property. Now we could say that the rest is history, but we were amid a pandemic – and let’s not forget the planning laws!
Ultimately Covid did not stop Sofia and Simon from purchasing the building, and whilst the restrictions continued a lot longer than expected, at no time did this dampen their ambition. If anything, the climate provided a greater sense of pride and achievement in what they were doing.
The planning laws did, however, create some concerns. In fact, if it hadn’t been for our support in managing the planning process, Spinners Fisheries wouldn’t have wrapped its first fish supper.
Our team was commissioned to support the planning application, building regulations, the transfer of the alcohol licence and premises address numbering. Here at MWA, planning support is just one of the services that we offer, and whilst some people may not think it’s the most exciting aspect of our work, but it’s the foundations for innovation and development.
In the case of Spinners Fisheries, it was more than obtaining planning approval – we had to disprove planning policy.
The building that Sofia and Simon purchased needed extensive renovation. Over the years, it had many uses, but most recently was a pub. So, even though the building had been vacant for some time, was run down, had become an eyesore and was a hub for anti-social activity, the loss of the public house as a community asset is a reason not to permit planning.
So, we had to challenge this.
As part of this process, we had to carry out sequential tests to prove that no other premises were suitable for a fish and chip takeaway and restaurant in an agreed radius. This proved successful and allowed Spinners Fisheries to be born.
Spinners Fisheries has brought a community building back to life. Through care, attention and investment it has been restored. It is no longer an eyesore. It is no longer an unsafe place.
It has 100% improved the look and feel and available amenities in the area. This has been recognised by the community, who have gone out of their way to support the venture and comment on the positive impact that this has had locally.
In December 2020, just six months after spotting the building, under the restrictions of a global pandemic and following extensive renovation, Spinners takaway launched. In May, we were proud to see Spinners Fisheries making a splash with the final phase of its ambitious plan – its restaurant.
The building is unrecognisable – inside and out! We are so pleased to have played a small (but critical) role in this venture and have had the opportunity to prove that ‘when the chips are down’ you can rely on MWA.
Pop along, it looks amazing, and the fish and chips are delicious too.
This is just one example of why we love what we do. Buildings can work harder in so many ways. The question is, how hard is your building working for you, for your business and your community?
“We are so pleased to have played a small (but critical) role in this venture and have had the opportunity to prove that ‘when the chips are down’ you can rely on MWA.