A FORMER Taunton social club which dates back to the 19th century will soon be turned into housing after plans were approved.

The Trinity Men’s Club, located at 17 Trinity Street, closed its doors for the last time in August 2019, with the building subsequently being targeted by thieves and vandals.

The grade two listed building was recently sold for around £350,000, with new owner Mr. A. Green applying to convert the three-storey building entirely for residential use.

Somerset Council’s planning committee west unanimously backed the plans when it met on May 1, arguing it was the best way to bring the building back into use.

The main part of Trinity House – which lies directly opposite Holy Trinity Church – dates back to 1847, with extensions subsequently being added in the mid-1940s and late-1970s.

The social club was founded in 1907, and at its height included two snooker rooms, a skittle alley and hall on its ground floor, with a further snooker room and office on the first floor and accommodation on the second floor.

Since the club ceased trading in August 2019, the building has “fallen into a state of disrepair”, with reports of rough sleeping, vandalism and thieves stripping out the copper pipes and radiators.

Under the approval plans, the entire building will be reconfigured for residential use, with the existing extensions being demolished and replaced and solar panels being installed on the roof.

The plans had to come before the council’s planning committee west (which handles applications in the former Somerset West and Taunton area) for approval on May 1 owing to the fact that Mr Green is currently an employee of the council.

Councillor Derek Perry (who represents the neighbouring Rowbarton and Staplegrove division) said: “It’s always sad to lose a social club. I’ve played snooker in away matches here and I’ve often bemoaned the loss of tables and places to play in Taunton.

“But the fact is this social club isn’t coming back, the building is rotting and the modern bits were the bad bits.

“What this proposal does is breathe life into a nice old listed building, take away the unsympathetically modern added bits and put something better on instead.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is a no-brainer.”

The committee voted unanimously to approve the plans after less than 20 minutes’ debate.