‘Grossly overstated’: 200-year-old church not as historic as council claim, say developers
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
The historical significance of a 200-year-old church in Flintshire which could be turned into flats has been “grossly overstated”, a planning consultant has claimed.
An application was submitted in October last year to partially demolish Golftyn Presbyterian Church in Connah’s Quay and convert the remaining parts of the building into six flats.
It followed the church being closed in September 2019 due to dwindling congregation numbers after serving as a place of worship for more than 200 years.
Golftyn Presbyterian Chapel was built between 1804 and 1810 in the Sub-Classical style of the gable entry type.
Officials from Flintshire Council previously refused permission for the flats scheme because of concerns over the loss of historic features of the building.
M.A.D.E Developments, which is behind the proposals, has now appealed to the Planning Inspectorate in a bid to have the decision reversed.
It came after a consultant acting on the company’s behalf called the architectural merit of the building into question.
In an appeal statement, Huw Evans said: “The planning authority has grossly overstated the importance of the architectural and historical significance of the appeal site.
“The area does not have any distinctive character to which the site makes a material contribution.
“The building has no protected status either locally or nationally and the council has made no attempt give it any protection by seeking to include it on a list of locally important buildings.
“Consequently, there is no firm policy context for the council to require the building to be retained in its entirety but there is a strong policy context and adopted guidance for the reduced parking standards that the highway authority has accepted.”
Huw Evans added: “The planning authority has failed to recognise that the appellant has a strong fall-back position that the building could be demolished with no control by the authority other than ensuring that demolition would be carried out safely.
“It is requested that the appeal be allowed and planning permission granted.”
The firm previously said the proposals to demolish part of the front of the church were necessary to create room for parking spaces.
But the council’s conservation officer said the plans would result in the loss of “virtually all” of the historical features from the outside of the building and permission was denied.
A decision will be made on the appeal by an inspector appointed by the Welsh Government at a later date.