A former nightclub in Burton town centre which has been left untouched for decades is set to be transformed after finally being sold.

The Refinery nightclub has been standing empty and gathering dust off Friar's Walk in the town centre since it closed down 20 years ago.

And Staffordshire Live was granted exclusive access inside the former club, which at one time housed the YMCA. The building was built more than 100 years ago as a lecture hall and was at one time a higely popular nightclub with revellers.

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The building once had a gymnasium during its early years but this was ripped out make way for the nightclub operation.

Inside is a step back to the 1990s as the venue still has its brightly coloured walls. A DJ booth and several bars also remain, as do the the toilets and cloakroom.

Now plans have been submitted to East Staffordshire Borough Council to turn the former nightclub building into three houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), containing 16 bedrooms, and there would be a new-build HMO on the former gymnasium site, containing seven bedrooms.

SRW Holdings (Midlands) Limited, from Walsall in West Midlands, is the applicant and has commissioned a heritage statement on the old building, which was submitted with the planning application to the borough council.

Have a look at our pictures inside:

It said: "The proposal is the residential conversion of the former YMCA lecture hall, long vacant and deteriorating, and last used as a night club called The Refinery."

He notes that the building is the Burton Conservation Area and, following an appraisal in 2009, it was noted that the building was considered worthy of becoming a listed building.

However, the report says: "Despite the recommendation, there does not appear to be an adopted East Staffordshire local list of buildings as yet. However, the contribution of the application building to the character and appearance of the conservation area is acknowledged, and is not under threat."

From 1901 to 1969, the buildings at the site were part of the Burton YMCA which occupied the whole length of the plot from High Street to Friars Walk.

The main dance floor of The Refinery in Burtpon which has been close for 20 years.
The main dance floor of The Refinery in Burtpon which has been close for 20 years.

However, the report notes the building, which has been derelict for 20 years, has suffered water damage and structural movement while it has been empty.

The report said: "After 20 years of disuse it is important to secure a new and viable use for the heritage asset, whose principal value lies in its contribution to the conservation area and to Friars Walk. The scheme achieves that, and will arrest the obvious deterioration. The opening-up and lowering of the former windows to Andressey Passage will provide a more active and welcoming frontage."

It had previously been thought the building could be turned into shops and offices as well as housing following a previous planning application, but the report said: "The use now proposed will not contribute as much “vitality” to the conservation area as a scheme with retail and offices on the ground storey would have done. But on the other hand the Andressey Passage frontage is a very secondary one, and the Friars Walk elevation has never been a strong “active frontage”, despite being architecturally imposing."

A decision on the application is due to be made in the next few months.

The Refinery went under the hammer at auction in February 2020 with a guide price of £135,000 and was sold for £190,000.

A poll conducted by Burton Live saw most readers wanting to see it reopened as a nightclub.

What the old night is like inside

In February last year, Staffordshire Live was granted exclusive access inside the building when we got the chance to look around the old nightclub before it was sold.

Inside the old cloakroom still has coat hangers inside - 19 years after they were last used.

The main dance floor is still intact, as are the bar and DJ booth were still intact and painted a light purple.

The old club had a balcony which is still in place and incredibly, there was still access on the first floor, where there is what is believed to be the VIP area, complete with its own seating and bar and was once used by clubbers.

Three red sofas were even still in place on this first floor, looking like they have never moved.

The old glitterball is also still in place.

Alongside the glitterball were signs reading "The Refinery" and "'Friday Social".

After our visit we concluded that The Refinery was Burton's very own time capsule from the nineties.

With the holidays approaching, we've pulled together some of the best days out around the region that you can take the family on for a budget.

It's a comprehensive guide to keeping the kids entertained through those long six weeks’ holidays. With a choice of free, under £10, under £25 and 'blow the budget', there’s a day out to suit everyone, for whatever they can afford.

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