Plans to turn the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre into a spa have been given the go ahead by councillors – but the heritage of the site will not be lost.
At a Broxtowe Borough Council planning meeting, councillors unanimously voted to allow Durban House, in Eastwood, to be turned into a day spa by a local businesswoman.
Michelle Davis, of The Beauty Lounge on Nottingham Road, gave a ‘passionate’ speech at the meeting, while members of the DH Lawrence Society also gave their views.
Councillor Margaret Handley, who chaired the meeting on Wednesday night, said after the meeting that councillors thought it best to keep the building in use, rather than allowing it to fall into disrepair.
She told the Post: “Nobody wanted to see Durban House fall into disrepair again like it was many years ago. The lady who will run the spa spoke very passionately and she knows her stuff.
“She is going to keep DH Lawrence as part of her new venture, and we still have his Birthplace Museum in Eastwood so the heritage of the area will still be here.”
The meeting heard Mrs Davis, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years, will move her current salon to the building which will also be used as a day spa.
She said: “We will be creating jobs by moving to Durban House. We will be keeping DH Lawrence as part of the spa. There will be bookshelves full of his books in the rooms, and some of his poems will be put on the walls in vinyl.
“We won’t be changing the appearance of the building other than the decor inside. All the rooms will stay the same. I remember when it was derelict in the past and have driven past many times and thought it would be perfect for a day spa.”
Malcolm Gray, chair of the DH Lawrence Society, said: “The owner of the day spa has been to a meeting of the DH Lawrence Society and she is doing some things to keep it relating to DH Lawrence.
“I am disappointed. The DH Lawrence Society will continue to hold meetings to see what we can do with some of the items from Durban House.
“We had hoped there would be a vision for regeneration of the building but obviously that was not the view of the council representatives or the planning department.”