Concerns over bedroom with no window in plan to turn office into flats
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Plans to turn an empty office in Wrexham into flats have been place on hold amid concerns over one bedroom which would have no window.
Cllr Marc Jones of Plaid Cymru said the council shouldn’t turn a “blind eye” to what he considered to be “substandard accommodation”, which wouldn’t be good for” anybody’s mental health or wellbeing”.
An application to convert a property on King Street, which was previously home to law firm Slater and Gordon, was put forward at the end of last year.
The building has stood empty for more than three years after the company closed the branch in January 2018.
Applicant Michal Palamarczuk said it would result in five flats being created aimed at people working in the town centre.
Members of the Wrexham Council’s planning committee have taken issue with the proposed living standards after claiming the flats would receive little natural daylight.
Cllr Jones said there should be a focus on good quality accommodation being created in the town.
Speaking at a meeting, he said: “The town centre is undergoing a transformation in terms of urban living and landlords looking to repurpose redundant and empty retail and office space and I support that.
“It’s not a problem if it’s done in a way that enhances the town and provides good quality accommodation for people to live in.
“But I’m afraid with regard to this planning application, I’ve got to ask whether living in a flat with no bedroom window, with some windows opening out above bins, and another window looks out on a wall less than three metres away is good quality accommodation.”
He added: “We shouldn’t be tossing aside guidelines casually and I do think that this gives the appearance that this council is turning a blind eye to permit what I would consider to be substandard accommodation.
“I wouldn’t want to live in the bedroom with no window as I don’t think that’s good for anybody’s mental health or wellbeing.”
Consultants acting on behalf of Mr Palamarczuk said the property had been empty for some time, receiving no interest when it was advertised for rent for its original purpose.
They said the plans would have a positive impact by bringing a vacant building back into use after several similar schemes were approved nearby.
The local authority’s chief planning officer had recommended the plans for approval, despite acknowledging issues with the location of windows.
But the majority of councillors called for the developer to make changes to the application so it can be reconsidered.
Cllr Paul Pemberton said: “A lot of these things have got to be used for other purposes or we’re going end up with a pile of derelict buildings in the town.
“But in this particular instance, I’m looking at a bedroom without windows.
“There’s a certain amount of flexibility by us and I think there should be a certain amount of flexibility by the developers as well.
“Is there any way that that the actual configuration of the interior could be tweaked i.e., to put a bedroom at the front instead of the back to obtain a window?”
Most members of the committee voted in favour of deferring the plans for a month to allow discussions to be held with the developer.