Charlotte Church wins approval for wellness retreat in mid Wales

Councillors have unanimously backed plans by singer-songwriter Charlotte Church to turn the former home of Laura Ashley in the Elan Valley into a wellness retreat.

The house near Rhayader
The house near Rhayader

Powys Council's planning committee voted to grant permission for the "Voice of an Angel" star’s proposal to change the use of Rhydoldog House near Rhayader from a residential dwelling to a wellbeing and healing retreat on Thursday.

Proposals include converting part of a barn to become an artist’s studio and store, and installing solar arrays as well as other associated works.

There had been objections to the plans on road safety issues.

Senior planning officer Kate Bowen, who presented the report to councillors, said Rhayader Town Council objected to the scheme.

She said road widening and building of passing bays were part of the proposal and due to this the Highways Authority believed that an objection could not be sustained.

She recommended that councillors approve the plans and that their recommendation would be taken on board with a final decision delegated to the planning professional lead, in consultation with the committee chair and vice-chair.

Councillor Huw Williams said: “We must ask some questions on behalf of the town council who do have concerns about the highways."

Highways network manager, Alastair Knox answered a question on whether a junction from the B4518 to the C1219 needed improving.

“Because the numbers of vehicle movements are not increasing significantly – we don’t feel we could sustain an argument at appeal that they need to improve the visibility at the junction.”

He added that “refreshing” the road signage and additional road markings would deal with this issue.

“In terms of the passing places, they have detailed and justified the opportunities along that road. We’d always like more, but we probably could not defend that at appeal.

“We can be satisfied with the work they are proposing with the additional bays and clearing off what is already there.”

Before work on the conversion can take place a sustainable drainage system application will need to be approved.

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