* Photo by Kageaki Smith. The old Clayhouse Inn on North Shore Road is set to make way for 12 new homes and a 100-seat restaurant as part of a major renovation project.
* Photo by Kageaki Smith. The old Clayhouse Inn on North Shore Road is set to make way for 12 new homes and a 100-seat restaurant as part of a major renovation project.
Plans to transform the legendary Clayhouse Inn into a new housing and commercial complex have been given the green light.

In September an application to build 12 new homes, a 100-seat restaurant and other amenities on the North Shore Road site was refused.

But the Minister of Environment, Youth and Sport, Glenn Blakeney, has overturned the decision and allowed an appeal by developers.

Demolition of the old building should start before the end of the year while construction work could begin in 2011.

In its golden era of the 1970s the Clayhouse played host to a string of famous black entertainers like Sister Sledge, The Supremes and Gladys Knight.

But it later developed a notorious reputation and the condemned building has been an unused eyesore on the North Shore for over a decade.

The site is owned by Donald Evans, son of groundbreaking politician Dame Lois Browne Evans and grandson of the Clayhouse's original owner James Browne.

In a statement Mr. Evans told the Sun: "As the development company created by the family of our late grandfather, James Browne, Clayhouse Renaissance Limited is delighted with the decision of Minister Glenn Blakeney.

"We look forward to restoring lustre to the property and managing it with integrity and character representative of its surrounding neighbourhood deep in the heart of Devonshire North.

"This was also the parliamentary constituency our late mother and aunt, the Honourable Dame Lois Marie Browne-Evans, loved and represented for decades."

Clayhouse Renaissance's proposals include demolishing the existing buildings and replacing them with 12 residential units, an underground car park for 57 cars and 54 bikes and a swimming pool.

They also plan to build a 100-seat restaurant and a two-storey retail unit.

On September 23 the application was refused by the Development Applications Board.

Reasons

The board provided seven reasons for refusing the application saying the development was "injurious to the environment" and was an "excessive and over development of the site".

But Clayhouse Renaissance appealed against the decision and at the beginning of April Mr. Blakeney upheld the appeal.

Mike Emery, who is the architect behind the project, said the new development could also house a pharmacy or doctors' offices.

He added: "It is obviously good news that the Minister has upheld the appeal.

"The old site has just been sitting around for a while and it is time for it to be upgraded and developed.

"We don't know exactly what the commercial side of the development will be used for - it could be a pharmacy, doctor's officers or even shops - we just do not know at the moment.

"The next step is for us to get more detailed drawings submitted and ensure we get a building permit.

"Demolition of the old site should begin by the end of the year and we are hopeful that construction work will begin in 2011."