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Councillors back Charlotte Church’s plans for a wellness retreat in the Elan Valley

01 Dec 2022 3 minute read
Rhydoldog House near Rhayader. Picture: Google Streetview. Charlotte Church At Rhydoldog House from her Twitter page.

Councillors have unanimously backed plans by singer-songwriter Charlotte Church to turn the former home of Laura Ashley in the Elan Valley, into a wellness retreat.

Councillors discussed the Voice of an Angel star’s proposal to change the use of Rhydoldog House from a residential dwelling to a wellbeing and healing retreat at a meeting of Powys County Council’s Planning committee on Thursday, December 1.

The house is a couple of miles away from Rhayader.

Artist’s studios

Proposals include converting part of barn to become artist’s studio and store, and installing solar arrays as well as other associated works.

There had been objections to the plans on road safety issues.

Senior planning officer Kate Bowen who presented the report to councillors at the meeting said that Rhayader Town Council’s had been in touch to stress they still objected to the scheme.

Ms Bowen explained that road widening and building of passing bays were part of the proposal and due to this the Highways Authority believed that an objection could not be “sustained.”

Ms Bowen recommended that councillors approve the plans and that their recommendation would be taken on board with a final decision delegated to the planning professional lead (Peter Morris) in consultation with the committee chair (Cllr Karl Lewis) and vice-chair (Cllr Gareth D Jones).

Cllr Huw Williams said: “We must ask some questions on behalf of the town council who do have concerns about the highways.

“You (Kate Bowen) do mention that the objections could not be sustained – is there a highways officer available just to reassure us as a committee, that is the case.”

Road issues

He wanted an explanation on how the road issues were “overcome.”

Highways network manager, Alastair Knox first answered a question on whether a junction from the B4518 to the C1219 needed improving.

Mr Knox said: “Because the numbers of (vehicle) movements are not increasing significantly – we don’t feel we could sustain an argument at appeal that they need to improve the visibility at the junction.”

He added that “refreshing” the road signage and additional road markings would deal with this issue.

He then went on to the passing bays on the C1219.

Mr Knox said: “In terms of the passing places, they have detailed and justified the opportunities along that road.

“We’d always like more, but we probably could not defend that at appeal.

“We can be satisfied with the work they are proposing with the additional bays and clearing off what is already there.”

Cllr Williams said: “I hear what is said and must take Alastair’s advice as he is the professional.”

Cllr Williams added that he was willing to move the proposal to a vote and Cllr Gareth E Jones seconded the motion.

Councillors then voted unanimously to back the proposal.

Eventually Ms Church will be sent a letter notifying her of the decision after the committee chairman Cllr Karl Lewis, vice-chairman Cllr Gareth D Jones and planning professional lead (Peter Morris) have concluded their deliberations.

Before work on the conversion can take place a sustainable drainage system (SuDS) application will need to be approved.

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