Historic Holyhead ‘eyesore’ moves step closer to renovation
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
A derelict and deteriorating Holyhead building once considered in a top ten of Victorian buildings most at risk in Wales is entering a new phase of its 130-year life.
Despite its failing condition, the Grade II listed Plas Alltran, on the corner between between Turkey Shore Road and Llanfawr Road, has long been considered of “national importance”.
The property had become vacant in the 1970s and sadly fell victim to arsonists and vandals.
But now the building’s history and features look set to be saved for future generations.
Anglesey’s Planning and Orders committee today (Wednesday, April 5) followed planning officers’ recommendation to permit an application for Listed Building Consent.
It was part of an ongoing scheme to “convert the listed building into four social housing flats together with external and internal works.”
Appropriately, the building will eventually provide local housing – the historic home was originally commissioned by a Victorian philanthropist who aimed to improve the area and help local people.
Listed Building Consent was originally granted in October 2021, and a full planning application for change of use of the existing listed building into four social flats was approved in July, 2021.
But a “non-material amendment” was later submitted on January 31, 2023, to further safeguard the property and its features.
Today’s consent concerned “internal and external changes to the building”, planning officer Rhys Jones explained to the committee, as one councillor noted some work had already been seen to have begun at the site.
Listed building consent is used to ensure that any changes to a listed building are appropriate and sympathetic to its character.
A council design and access statement said: “The building’s central location adjacent to the port and train terminal means it is seen by many people on a daily basis and has been an ‘eyesore’ in the town of Holyhead for many years.”
It was identified as a Building at Risk on Cadw’s Register in 2001, and in its present condition, did not “appropriately befit as an appropriate landmark to welcome all visitors arriving by public transport to Holyhead, Anglesey and North Wales”.
It was included in the Victorian Society’s Top 10 most endangered buildings in England and Wales in September 2020.
A report noted it was “…currently in a state of disrepair with holes in the roof allowing water ingress and a pigeon infestation leading to structural damage”.
It added: “The building has also suffered from fire damage as a result of arson, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.”
In its long history, the building had seen a variety of uses.
It had been a 19th century doctor’s home and surgery, a First World War first aid post, a soup kitchen, a 1930s boarding house, a nurses’ accommodation, a dance school, a home for tuberculosis sufferers and a girls’ training institute.
It had been originally built as a surgery and home for Dr William Fox Russell and his family.
Then it is believed the house was known as Plas Tanalltran.
Commissioned by Jane Henrietta Adeane (O.B.E), a niece of Hon. W.O Stanley of Penrhos, in 1890-1891, it was part of her redevelopment of the Blackbridge area of Holyhead.
A report by CR Archaeology, recording the history of the building, said: “Miss Jane Adeane is now a largely forgotten figure in the history of Holyhead but during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries she was a leading figure in the town and gave freely of her time and money for the betterment of the town.”
Proposing the committee grant the permission, Councillor Jeff Evans described the building as “a wonderful looking building.”
Councillor Jackie Lewis seconded, and it was unanimously carried.
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