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Owners of historic Welsh chapel make second bid to convert it into apartments

20 May 2024 3 minute read
Bethel Methodist Chapel in Flint Mountain. Source Google

Liam RandallLocal Democracy Reporter

The owners of a historic chapel in a Welsh village have made a second bid to convert it into three apartments.

A planning application to change the use of Bethel Methodist Chapel in Flint Mountain was previously refused in August 2023.

It followed concerns being raised by planners from Flintshire Council over road safety and a lack of affordable housing within the proposals.

Hawkesbury Trading, which is behind the plans, has now submitted an amended application in an attempt to gain permission for the two-bedroom apartments.

Decline

According to the online database for the National Monuments Record of Wales, the chapel on School Lane was first built in 1838 and extended in 1893.

The company said the chapel closed more than five years ago due to a decline in the size of its congregation.

In a statement accompanying the proposals, town planners acting on the firm’s behalf argued that delivering affordable housing would not be possible.

However, they said the developers would be willing to pay money towards providing affordable homes elsewhere.

Detail

They said: “This submission follows on from a previous application that was refused by the local planning authority and seeks to provide additional detail that will address the authority’s concerns.

“Overall, it is submitted that figures demonstrate that there is a substantial viability issues on this site and that it would therefore be reasonable to apply flexibility and waive the requirement to provide affordable housing.

“This is especially the case bearing in mind the other benefits of this proposal in securing a suitable use for an attractive and important local building.

“It is submitted that there may be room to agree a commuted sum toward affordable housing as this would be more viable than the alternative.”

Addressing the road safety concerns, they said changes had been made to the latest application to ensure a boundary wall would not exceed one metre in height.

A proposed footpath would also be extended to allow pedestrians to cross the road safely.

Issues

They said: “Overall, it is clear that the concerns of the planning authority for the previous application have been entirely addressed.

“It is clear that there is justification for applying flexibility on affordable housing policy due to the viability issues in this case, and the benefits of the proposal in securing a viable future for the building and through delivery of low-cost open market housing.

“The proposed plans have also been amended to tackle the minor highways matters raised for the previous case.

“Alongside the preceding points, it is submitted that there is inherent merit in finding a suitable long-term use for the former chapel as it has been unused for an extended period, and it is a characterful building of clear heritage value and visual merit in the village.”

Comments are currently being invited on the application via the council’s website, with a decision expected at a later date.


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