Restaurant set to open in waterside glass Barbican site

Plans have been unveiled for the opening of a new restaurant on the Barbican. Loungers UK Limited have submitted a plan which would see them take over the former Edinburgh Woolen Mill premises.

The prominent and striking glass shop on the waterfront closed on Tuesday May 25. It has remained vacant ever since.

While the store was one of 246 Edinburgh Woolen Mill and Ponden Home stores that were saved when they were bought from the administration at the end of 2020 it only lasted another 18 months before closing.

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Now, however, the waterfront building could be redeveloped as a restaurant. Loungers already run the Seco Lounge at the Royal William Yard, and the proposal in the planning application submitted this week would see them open to the Barbican.

The building at 20 The Barbican was built in 1896 by the Sutton Harbor Company as the original fish market and served that purpose for over 100 years before the ‘new’ fish market was built on the side east-east of the harbour. The building itself was constructed in the Victorian era and was designed by Sir James Inglis, who was an engineer for Great Western Railways, hence the similarity in design to railway architecture of the period.

The old fish market was originally occupied by Edinburgh’s Woolen Mill retail outlet until it came into administration. The owners of the building subsequently sought to reallocate the building to offer it to new tenants and return it to service, a statement with the planning application said.

The former Edinburgh Woolen Mill store on the Barbican, Plymouth – Sun loungers want to open in the building

He adds: “The proposal is for the interior design of the property to facilitate a Restaurant Lounge. The building must be divided into 3 units for 3 separate tenants according to approved requests. Unit 3 will be occupied by Loungers.

No details of the occupants of the other two units are mentioned. But a separate planning request, which remains undetermined, has been submitted for an unnamed retailer to occupy Unit 2.

The planning application adds: ‘The current application seeks approval for internal works to ‘fit out’ the premises to provide a bar, kitchen, toilets, including a small mezzanine, as shown on the plans submitted. The interior layout must allow the building to be used for a lounge bar. All fittings are removable and would not affect the heritage character of the building. The signage is sympathetic to the character and appearance of the building.

“The request is in line with the planning guidelines of the adopted development plan. The proposals would have no adverse impact on any designated heritage property that includes the listed building.

Loungers was founded in 2002 in Bristol by three friends David Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop. Theu operates more than 185 locations across the country through two brands, The Lounges and The Cozy Clubs.

The lounges are all uniquely designed, with an emphasis on creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for families (as well as four-legged friends). The objective of each Lounge is to get closer to local customers, so that they can do with the Lounge what they want; whether a customer wants to come in for a coffee after dropping kids off at school, a working lunch, or a drink after work.

According to the company, the outlets are “Lounges are informal, all-day neighborhood cafes/bars where families, friends and local residents can come for a coffee, a drink or something to eat. in a relaxed and comfortable environment.”

Plymouth City Council planners will determine the fate of the request for internal and external alterations, including internal partitions, new doors, mechanical and electrical fittings and associated works, at a later date.

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