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Plans submitted to turn Grade II listed 19th Century church into flats

23 Jan 2024 2 minute read
St Pauls Church in Commercial Street Newport. Photo Planning Heritage

Nicholas Thomas, local democracy reporter

A disused Grade II listed church could be turned into flats, according to a new planning application.

St Paul’s, In Newport’s Commercial Street, was built in 1835 but hasn’t been used for services for several years, and part of the church later became the home of a support service for drug users.

Listed building consent would be required if the conversion plans are to get the thumbs-up from city council planners.

A previous application to build 20 flats inside the church was thrown out in February 2022 because of concerns about bats and “preserving the special historic interests of the building”.

Now, applicant A. Brown is making a second bid to convert the building, this time into nine flats.

A design statement from agents LPC (Trull) Ltd argues planners’ concerns from 2022 have been “considered and addressed” in the new application.

If the plans are approved, six two-bedroom flats and three three-bedroom flats could be built inside St Paul’s.

The reduction in planned flats is “considered to represent a more sympathetic and a less intensified change of use”, according to the agents.

Any “alternative community use” of the old church “would not be feasible”, they added, arguing St Paul’s “in its current condition is not considered to be fit for purpose for public use for health and safety reasons”.

“The roof requires repairing, weather proofing and the interior is in serious need of refurbishment,” the agents said. “It would require a significant financial outlay to make the building accessible and safe as a community facility which would not be a viable proposition on top of its existing market value.”

Heritage asset

In a statement, consultants Planning Heritage noted the church is a Grade II listed building and a “recognised heritage asset”.

The consultants noted the building had been “subjected to various arson attacks”, causing damage to the the doors, plasterwork and ceiling.

St Paul’s in its current condition “blights the locality and neighbouring properties”, and the proposed conversion into flats would be a “fitting solution”, according to the consultants’ report.

The application for listed building consent for the church conversion can be viewed on the Newport City Council website under reference 24/0045.

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