Council backs demolition plans for building of ‘historic local importance’ in Port Talbot
Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter
Despite being described as an “irreplaceable historical asset,” plans to demolish Eagle House based on Talbot Road, to make way for 18 affordable flats have been approved at a Neath Port Talbot Counci planning committee meeting.
Eagle House, based on Talbot Road is located between the newly-renovated Grade II-listed Plaza Cinema and Grand Hotel, and dates back to the 1800s where it was described as a building of historical significance in its position adjacent to the transport hub and Port Talbot Parkway Railway Station.
It was used in a number of different functions throughout its history, including a pub, a hotel and offices, and was even once the headquarters of an Air Training Corps squadron with notable members such as actor Richard Burton.
The decision to approve the application came at the planning meeting on October 11, after it was initially differed from an August 9 committee, where councillors had asked for a site visit in order to review the historical significance of the building.
Many who were opposed to the plans felt the removal of the building would negatively impact the historical character of the town, including Labour Councillor Saifur Rahaman of Port Talbot.
Rahaman had previously said: “Eagle House pre-dates the construction of Station Road and Talbot Road and it is one of the oldest commercial buildings remaining in Port Talbot since the 1876 map survey was carried out. This shows how old this particular building is, and in terms of its local importance, I don’t think anything can argue that.
“The recent refurbishment of the plaza building has shown us how respecting our heritage can be an important part of our local community. Protecting our heritage and architectural character is really important to the residents of Port Talbot.”
However, despite these reservations, as well as an additional 32 objections from the public, officers believed this was outweighed by the high demand for housing in Port Talbot.
The planning application, which was submitted by I&S Gorvett and Castell Group, was granted.
The Castell Group has now been granted permission to demolish the existing building and replace it with 18 upper-floor flats and ground-floor office or commercial units.
The proposed flats will be made up of 13 one-bed apartments and five two-bed apartments, with six flats on each of the first and second floors, four flats on the third floor, and two flats on the fourth floor.
The submitted plans also have a provision for 19 car parking spaces, three of which would be disabled parking spaces, and the development of secure bicycle parking on the ground floor.
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