Planners win appeal over Welshpool home proposal

Council planners have successfully defended and won an appeal over plans to convert a Welshpool building into a home.

Bear Passage in Welshpool from Google Streetview.
Bear Passage in Welshpool from Google Streetview.

Earlier this year Rikki Lloyd lodged an appeal with Welsh Government planning inspectors at PEDW “Planning and Environment Decision Wales” after his application to convert 1 Bear Passage into a single dwelling unit was refused by county planners.

The building is next to his butcher’s shop in the town.

In his report, Powys County Council planning officer Luke Woosnam had refused the application on the grounds that whoever lived in the proposed home would be “unacceptably affected” by the level of noise coming from the neighbouring night club at number 38 High Street.

The back of Bear Passage in Welshpool. Photo: Google.

This is the former Conservative Club which became the 1898 club for a short while and closed last year.

In appeal documents Mr Lloyd’s planning agent Gwynfor Humphreys argued that the refusal is based on comments made by the council’s environment protection officer.

These said that future residents would need to keep the windows closed due to noise from the licensed premises.

Mr Humphreys believed that this was not a “reasonable basis for refusal” and explained that Mr Lloyd would be “happy” to install a ventilation system at the property.

He also said that the former Conservative Club had been empty for “long period of time” and claimed it was unlikely to reopen soon, adding “and if it does it will probably be on an infrequent basis”.

Planning inspector Claire MacFarlane visited Bear Passage in July to look at the issues.

Ms MacFarlane said: “Due to the close proximity of the bar/nightclub, future occupiers of the appeal property would likely experience a substantial amount of noise disturbance from patrons as they queue, enter, exit and gather around the premises, and from music and other internal sounds, particularly whilst the entrance door is open.

“Any effects would be exacerbated by the modest size of the proposal, which would provide little opportunity for future occupiers to distance themselves from noise sources.

“Although the bar/nightclub is currently not in use, there is a valid licence in place allowing operation every day and night, mostly until the early hours of the morning, and this could be implemented at any time.

“The hours of operation would also result in any noise potentially occurring frequently and over extended periods of time, particularly during the night when future occupiers of the appeal property would be most sensitive to sound.”

Ms MacFarlane said that comments about the future use of the former Conservative Club made by the appellant were “unsubstantiated".

She added that previous noise complaints about the bar/nightclub made by other residents who live nearby, “serves to reinforce” her concerns.

Ms MacFarlane said: “With regard to noise the proposal would cause significant harm to the living conditions of future occupiers.”

Due to this, she dismissed the appeal.

The decision is expected to be received and noted by councillors at a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Thursday, September 21.

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