PLANS to demolish an historic hall have been given the green light after a 10-year battle.
Llanbedr Hall has been at the centre of a debate on redevelopment for a decade but an agreement on the future of the centuries-old building has finally been reached.
Members of Denbighshire County Council voted in favour of an application from Rod Cox to knock down the existing building and replace it with a crescent of nine terraced houses, in agreement with the officer recommendation.
There was a strong argument against the proposal but members ultimately voted two to one in favour of the development, subject to a number of conditions.
Guy Alford spoke on behalf of Llanbedr residents who objected to the proposal on a number of grounds including the site’s position within the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
He claimed the development, which would see a doubling of the “residential floor area” from about a dozen small flats into a row of three-storey houses, was “totally out of all proportions”.
“We believe that Llanbedr Hall should not be demolished because it is of local historic interest and contributes to the character of the area,” he said.
“There is no place for this monstrosity in our local AONB and it should be refused.”
But Georgia Crawley, who spoke on behalf of Mr Cox, said renovating the hall was not a viable option, a claim backed by Paul Mead, development manager for the council, and CADW did not believe the hall to be of historic importance.
She said: “This is a preferable scheme to just letting the hall deteriorate and will have a positive effect on the ecology of the area.”
A potential influx of new families could also help brighten the future for Ysgol Llanbedr which is under threat of closure, she added, and the plans had already been amended to incorporate a number of requests such as the AONB’s joint advisory committee’s request to preserve a lime tree on the site.
However Huw Williams, county councillor for Llanbedr DC and Llangynhafal, insisted the development was not needed, was outside the authority’s development boundary and was causing a lot of concern in the village about road access and an increase in traffic.
“There’s no mention of affordable housing,” he added, “and there’s no way local people would be able to afford these houses.”
In response, Mr Mead explained there was no requirement on the owner to provide affordable housing because the development did not increase the number of dwellings and said the authority’s highways department had no concerns about the impact on the village’s road network.
Cllr Williams proposed the plans be refused but the majority of members ultimately approved the application with a number of conditions: either a proportion of the homes be “affordable” or the owner make a contribution to benefit the village; sufficient parking be provided on the site; and passing places be created on the driveway into the site.
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