A DECISION over Abingdon Old Gaol's future has been delayed, with the council taking longer to consider plans to convert restaurant space into flats and create a new wine bar.

Developer Cranbourne, which purchased the Bridge Street building from Vale of White Horse District Council in 2007, submitted an application to the authority in February to divide the largest of three restaurant units - converting half into three additional flats and using the money from their sale to fund a new cafe/wine bar in the remaining space.

It comes after years spent struggling to shift the units, only one of which has been leased, despite 61 luxury flats in the same complex being snapped up before they were even completed.

A target decision date was originally set for Tuesday but this has now been altered by council officers to May 22.

The plans have been met with opposition from some residents who queried where extra parking spaces for the new flats would be located.

Abingdon Town Council also submitted a formal objection to the application as did civic group Friends of Abingdon.

Committee member Bobbie Nichols said Friends of Abingdon met with representatives from Cranbourne this week to discuss the proposal.

She said: “We had a very friendly meeting and no decision either way has been taken yet.”

She added the group was not opposed in principle to a developer-run wine bar and thought transforming the larger retail space into a wine bar or other community space would be a ‘very good addition’ to that part of the town.

Members, however, have raised concerns over dividing the space to turn part into the new flats.

Residents who already live in the flats, meanwhile, have strongly backed the current scheme, with a raft of signatures confirming their ‘full support’ submitted online via Alan Waddon, chairman of the Old Gaol Residents Management Committee.

Additional support included Old Gaol resident Agnes Kofman, who commented:

“Cranbourne’s agreement to fund a wine and tapas bar in lieu of converting an element of the commercial space into residential use, is in my opinion a really positive initiative towards improving the amenities available to both residents and the public and will encourage the use of the public garden.”