19th century church school in Flintshire to become holiday let
Rory Sheehan, local democracy reporter
A former Grade-II listed church building in Flintshire is to become holiday accommodation.
Flintshire Council’s planning department has granted permission to change the use of the Old Church School in Halkyn, which will become an eight-bedroom holiday let.
According to the design and access statement submitted with the application the property was built by the estate of the Duke of Westminster in 1849 as separate boys and girls schools. This was to replace an earlier school that was demolished the previous year.
The building, which is opposite St Mary’s Parish Church, was sold to the Diocese of St Asaph in 1912 and later closed when Ysgol Rhos Helyg in Rhosesmor opened in 1953.
Despite being converted for commercial use during the 1980s, according to planning documents it has mostly been vacant for a number of decades. Permission was granted in 2016 to turn the old school into three separate homes, but this did not happen.
A planning statement submitted with the successful application by architects acting on behalf of the applicants, said: “The Church retained a covenant preventing use of the building other than for light industry and a subsequent successful cottage industry made use of the building, with the company later developing into a substantial knitwear design and production business.
“This thrived until competition from cheap imports made UK production less than viable in the early part of the 20th century and so the building has remained largely empty since then
“Efforts have been made to utilise the building, including its listing for either lease or sale, without success.
“It is therefore considered that, without reasonable conversion of the building for an alternative and viable use, the building may once again fall into disrepair and could subsequently incur irreparable damage.”
The applicants, Halkyn Estates Limited, say they hope this move to change the use of the building will help secure its future, and help further attract tourism to this part of Flintshire.
Their statement added: “The scheme proposes eight bedrooms and it is believed that the size and scale of the old church school can easily accommodate this without significant impact on the historical fabric of the building.
“Furthermore, it is envisioned that this unique holiday let will help to entice new visitors and holidaymakers to the picturesque village of Halkyn and to the wider North Wales area.
“It is the main intention of the application to ensure that the building is re-purposed for a viable long-term use and that any proposed works to the school are sensitive to the building’s heritage significance and Grade II-listed status.”
As part of the plans, communal kitchen and areas will be created for socialising to serve the holiday lets.
Among the interesting historical items that have been found within the school are two stone hand basins, a bookcase used by the old headmaster and two school desks.
Approval has been granted for the change of use in a delegated decision made by Flintshire Council’s planning department.
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