Go-ahead for ex-council offices to be converted into flats

Government planning inspectors will not call in plans to convert a former council headquarters in Welshpool into flats for older people.

Neuadd Maldwyn, Welshpool
Neuadd Maldwyn, Welshpool

The £11.6 million plans by Clwyd Alyn Housing Association to change the Neuadd Maldwyn into a 66-apartment extra care facility for older people were approved at a Powys County Council (PCC) planning committee meeting on January 22.

But with planning inspectors having their say, this decision was only a “recommendation” until the council heard back from the Welsh Government.

Days later on Tuesday, January 26, the cabinet agreed to transfer the deeds to Clwyd Alyn.

But this would also be in limbo until a decision on whether to call in the application or not, was made.

How it could look when it's finished

Inspectors looked at several issues regarding the application including effect on nearby listed buildings, lack of parking, concerns expressed by Welshpool Town Council as well as PCC's own vested interest in approving plans for a site they own.

Planning directorate, head of decisions branch, T Davies said: “We consider the call-in requests have not identified issues which demonstrate the applications are contrary to national policy, nor do the applications appear significantly to affect statutorily designated sites.

“There are objections to the application, however, they are confined to the local area.

“Having assessed the issues associated with the call-in request and, in the light of the Welsh Government’s policy on call-in, I do not consider the issues raised are of more than local importance in this instance.

“In view of this, I do not consider the applications should be called in for determination by the Welsh Ministers and it is now for your authority to determine the applications as it sees fit.”

Considered

A separate listed building consent planning application had been referred to Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service for evaluation.

They were to decide whether it would need to be referred for a decision by Welsh Government planners.

Listed building officer, Christopher Thomas said: “The information supplied has been considered and the proposals as shown need not be referred to the Welsh Government.”

PCC’s head of property, planning and public protection, Gwilym Davies, has now officially sent a letter to Clwyn Alyn Housing Association approving the plans.

The scheme which has received the backing of PCC’s adult social services will be covered by grants of over £6.7 million from the Welsh Government.

This would be £4,158, 040 from a Social Housing Grant, £2,562,750 from the Integrated Care Fund and the remaining £4,866, 779 will come from Clwyd Alyn themselves.

An independent valuation report by the District Valuation Service (DVS) in March 2020 has deemed the market value of the whole site including the Chalfont building to be £660,000.

This is seen as PCC’s contribution to the project.

Claims had been made that the extra care scheme is not actually needed, and there is actually more call in the Welshpool area for one and two bedroom flats.

According to PCC: by 2036, there is a predicted 157 per cent increase in the number of people over 85 years old going from 950 to 2,445.

That would see a corresponding increase of 83 per cent of people suffering some form of dementia rising from 497 to 910 by 2036.

With no extra care available, only 115 sheltered accommodation units available and only eight residential care beds for dementia per 1,000 population,

Neuadd Maldwyn dates back to 1927 when it was built for the former Montgomeryshire County Council, extensions were added in the 1930s and 1950s.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News