Former Free Press offices to become shops, homes and a gym

Sunny Bar. Picture: Andrew Roe
Sunny Bar. Picture: Andrew Roe

The former offices of the Doncaster Free Press are set to be turned into shops, homes and a gym after plans were given the go-ahead by council chiefs.

Doncaster Council has given the green light to turn this newspaper’s former premises in Sunny Bar in the town centre into five ground floor retail units, a multiple occupation house containing fourteen bedrooms on the first and second floors as well as a gym, lounge, office and store areas in the basement.

The plans were put forward by Balby-based Belgray Developments in August and were given the go-ahead by Doncaster Council’s planning committee this week.
Work on the project is expected to get underway in the New Year.

Belgray is a family owned property company, formed in the 1990s, and has been involved in a string of housing developments across Doncaster.

The Free Press was founded at Sunny Bar in 1925 and its offices were based at the distinctive red-brick building along one whole side of the street for 89 years until our move to newer more modern premises on the corner of Printing Office Street and Cleveland Street in January.

More than 4,500 editions of the paper were produced at Sunny Bar within the building which was constructed in 1902.

The building has also housed a tea room, chemist and retail units down the years until the Free Press took over the entire building in the early 1990s.

The Free Press was founded by printer Dickie Crowther and first hit the streets on 18 June 1925 under the title Doncaster Free Press and Courier of Coming Events, celebrating its 90th anniversary next year.