Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Tory MP launches appeal after council refuses planning permission for constituency office changes

24 Aug 2022 3 minute read
Fay Jones’ office. Photo via Google

Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter

A Conservative MP is challenging Powys County Council’s decision to refuse planning permission to make changes to her constituency base in Llandrindod Wells.

Earlier this year, Fay Jones, the MP for Brecon and Radnorshire’s application for retrospective planning permission to change her office at Leamington House on Temple Street from retail to office use was rejected by Powys planners.

She also wanted to replace a “rotting wooden door and window frame” with similarly coloured UPVC – which is a form of plastic that is used as a wood substitute.

The issue with the application is that the office is in part of Llandrindod Wells which is a conservation area.

Letters lodged with the application said that the UPVC windows were needed as a security measure for MP’s.

Vandalised

As part of the evidence submitted to Welsh Government planning inspectors, Ms Jones has pointed out that neighbouring MP, Craig Williams had the windows of his Montgomeryshire constituency office in Welshpool vandalised last year.

The documents also say the Ms Jones’ office in Brecon has been attacked.

Ms Jones’ agent, Peter Weavers explained why the appeal had been lodged.

Mr Weavers said:  “All premises offering accommodation to MPs, their staff and visitors attending the MP’s surgery, are vetted by parliamentary security teams, with a view to reducing the threat to politicians evidenced by the murder of Jo Cox MP and subsequently Sir David Amess MP.

“MPs are not offered an option, they must accept what security measures are specified by the security teams.

“At Llandrindod Wells that amounted to a number of changes, the one at issue being the replacement of single glazed, wooden framed windows and doors with similarly coloured and designed toughened glass in UPVC frames. ”

Mr Weavers said there had been no response from Powys planners to suggestions that the timber frames could be reinstated when Ms Jones leaves the premises, or that the “public interest test” of the changes had been considered.

Positive development

Mr Weaver said: “It is arguable that the replacement of ageing, rotten, windows and doors with new frames of very similar design enabling use of a previously empty shop might, from the perspective of those visiting the conservation area in 2022, be seen as at worst neutral and to some a positive development.”

The council’s report on the application said: “Justification has been provided in support of the application requirement of UPVC windows based on security grounds.

“No evidence however has been provided which confirms that the existing timber windows and doors was considered less secure and that alternative options were first explored.”

“On this basis, I do not consider that the reasons put forward overrides the concerns raised to the character and appearance of the conservation area.”

The report also points out that in conservation areas, timber is the “most appropriate” material and the use of modern materials such as metal, plastic, or composites: “will not be permitted.”

Final submissions for the appeal are expected next month.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

6 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ceramike
Ceramike
1 month ago

There is no evidence that UPVC is anymore secure than a wooden door or window frame. In some cases quite the opposite. However the cost for UPVC is undeniably less.
I would have thought being a Conservative she may have been more attuned to the need for conservation and not degrading her constituency environment rather than penny pinching.
It may now be a different philosophy from the previous meaning, where Conservative now means desecrator.

Last edited 1 month ago by Michael Rieveley
Carol Loughlin
Carol Loughlin
1 month ago

If she feels insecure with replacement wooden windows and doors then maybe look for alternative accommodation that’s not in the conservation area.

Geoffrey ap.
Geoffrey ap.
1 month ago

Comply with the same regulations and requirements as the rest of the community, no special considerations for MP,s. What is there about Conservation area Status she doesn’t understand?

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
1 month ago

Jo Cox was murdered outside her constituency office and the person who murdered Amess had been let in to his consulting area to see him, in both cases the material used in the structure of the buildings had no bearing on the deaths of either person. I think this is Fay Jones just being ever so slightly disingenuous as usual.

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago

Lots of people invoking the murder of MPs and children to score cheap political points at the moment.
So many crocodile tears!

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago

UPVC windows are a “security measure” for MPs? I once broke a toughened glass door with a stray chipping kicked up by my strimmer.
They offer no additional security and like all Tories d wry where she’s just having a loud whiny tantrum to try and get what she wants.
Maybe she’s frightened by a joke meme of a councillor posing with a toy gun in a car park by the seaside. This seems to terrify all other Tories and their toadies

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.