Dance school plans for former Electric Club in Grantham are held up

On the market. The Electric Social Club in Grantham.
On the market. The Electric Social Club in Grantham.
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A dance teacher has been given permission to turn a former social club into a dance studio but says the council has put so many restrictions on its use that she would not be able to make it work.

Michelle Bates, who has run the Elite Academy of Dance for 15 years, says restrictions on opening hours and the use of the former Electric Social Club on Commercial Road for parties and events means she could not make the studio pay for itself.

Michelle applied for permission in March. It was approved four months later.

The council has restricted the dance school’s opening hours to 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and it cannot open on Sundays or bank holidays. Michelle says she needs the opening hours extending and she needs to be able to open on Sundays and bank holidays.

She says it is unfair to insist on these restrictions because the Electric Club was open late during the week and there was music played there. She says in 15 years of running her dance school in residential areas she has never had a complaint about noise. She currently rents St Anne’s church hall on Harrowby Road.

Michelle has written to Grantham MP Nick Boles asking for his help. She said: “As a tax payer I am disappointed that so much time and public money has been spent on an application that should have been a YES from day one.

“I am really, really keen to buy the building and I don’t want to let the students down. The sad thing is that unless the council changes its mind on these conditions I will not be able to proceed with the purchase and this building will remain shut with little prospect of being opened up to the community again.”

SKDC’s Strategic Director for Economy and Development Steve Ingram said: “We were pleased to approve the application for the building to change its use to a dance studio, which we are sure will be a popular addition to the commercial life of Grantham.

“We appreciate the applicant’s frustration in the necessary restrictions we have placed on its use, but given the proximity to residents - and the fact that the site received complaints about noise when it was previously a social club - we have had to take this into consideration. As we have explained to the applicant, the council is open to considering extending the venue’s opening hours, but this would need to be subject to a separate further application which would provide the opportunity for local residents to have their say.”