Developer Granted Permission to Convert Disused Village Chapel Despite Resident Concerns
A developer was granted permission to convert a disused village chapel into two self-contained apartments, despite concern from residents.
Ryan Peers submitted a planning application to Conwy’s planning department, seeking permission to convert the dilapidated Capel Horeb at Bryn Rhyd yr Arian, Llansannan, in Conwy.
At a planning committee meeting at Bodlondeb, councillors heard how the building had not been used as a chapel since 1993 and is currently vacant.
The committee heard how there is currently no parking in front of the building, and it lies at the head of a sharp bend in the road.
But Mr Peers will now convert the chapel into two one-bedroom apartments with living space at the ground floor level, together with a master bedroom, en-suite, and a study at first floor level.
But speaking at the meeting, councillor Trystan Lewis said: “There is a lot of concern in the community as to regards to this. Some of you may be aware that many applications have been submitted before. This chapel is in a dire state. A lot of people have got married in this chapel and have had their family members funerals in this chapel.
“There are problems and have been over the last few days and weeks as regards water, problems regarding drainage, and building this dwelling would add to this problem and add to the flooding.”
Cllr Lewis then pointed to the fact that planning officers had admitted a 106 agreement – a special agreement whereby developers are forced to contribute financially to a community or to adhere to specific planning conditions – which didn’t apply to converted buildings.
“The applicant has said this is not going to be a second home and this is not going to be a holiday let,” he said.
“But we can’t have any guarantee on this. There is a huge demand for homes for local people. You’ve seen this in the news. You have heard young people have had to leave the area due to the lack of housing.”
But Cllr Chris Cater was pleased the building was being brought back into use. “I would actually support the officers’ recommendation for this for approval.” he said.
“I just welcome the Investment in this dilapidated chapel. I welcome the retention of the architectural character and features of it. It hasn’t been used as a chapel since 1993, so it isn’t going to be used as a chapel or place of worship, I wouldn’t have thought.”
He added: “I think it’s better if it is split into two smaller apartments. I think it is likely only single people or a couple would live in it. It’s not suitable for a large family because it doesn’t have land around it.”
Council officers were satisfied there wasn’t a serious risk of flooding and advised the committee to back the plans, and councillors voted in favour of the development.
By Richard Evans – Local Democracy Reporter
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