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Victorian seafront flats approved, despite fears they will be used as holiday lets

29 Nov 2022 4 minute read
The nine-bedroomed Auckland House on Marine Parade, Barmouth to be converted into six flats (inset picture). Picture: Gwynedd Council Planning Documents.

Dale Spridgeon, Local Democracy Reporter

A scheme to convert a Victorian seafront property into flats has been approved by planners – despite concerns over their potential use for holiday lets being raised.

Cyngor Gwynedd’s planning committee agreed to a full planning application for the ‘conversion and change of use of a single dwelling to form six one-bedroom apartments on Barmouth’s Marine Parade.

The changes at the nine-bedroomed Auckland House were proposed by David James, through the agent Andrew Richards of Cader Architecture Ltd.

The decision to allow the flats was carried unanimously with 14 in favour, during a planning meeting on Monday, November 28.

Planning officer Kiera Sweeney outlined the development which included the replacement of one window with a door, the building of a steel walkway frame at the building rear.

Land at the front of the property would be dug to create a “box–style structure” for access.

The development fell partly within the Barmouth development boundary, and met policy requirements, with regard to dwellings being split and in line with other properties in the area.

The proposal was also not considered to “exacerbate existing parking problems.”

“We know there are no parking spaces in the curtilage of the property, however the current property is nine bedrooms, and the flats provide a total of six bedrooms,” she said.

“We can therefore see from the transportation unit observations that this reduction of the number of bedrooms provided would mean a reduced demand for local parking.

“Therefore, the transportation unit considers the impact as ‘positive’ on local parking provision.”

The applicant had also agreed that the basement level flats would be “affordable units” and information from the applicant and housing unit had confirmed a “huge need” for small units in the area.

Holiday lets concerns

The officer noted that “observations” from a third party had raised concerns over the flats potential use as holiday lets and their potential impact on the town, “as seen in other areas of Gwynedd” had been expressed.

However, she explained that changes in planning legislation, created in October, now meant that second homes and short-term holiday lets fell under different use categories to permanent dwellings.

“At the moment, planning permission is not required to change use, as in the use classes, but where there is an application for new residential units the right can be removed by conditions,” she said.

It was deemed “appropriate” to impose conditions that these flats could only be used as the occupiers’ sole or main residence, and it was recommended the committee accepted the proposal.

Local member, Councillor Rob Triggs was given ten minutes to speak, but in a brief address, said he “recommended” the application, saying he knew of a Welsh family who were “keen to get in there” and that the application had been “a long time coming”.

Councillor Anne Lloyd Jones proposed the plans with conditions, be accepted seconded by Cllr Elwyn Jones.


Councillor Gruff Williams, then spoke up, saying he had some “observations, – not so much objections,” although he accepted that conditions would be set on the flats’ use.

“When we look at the plans for apartment four and five, can I ask in all seriousness, why is there is a shower room and an en-suite attached to a one-bedroom flat to be let out to local people?

“That doesn’t sit comfortably with me, why would they go to that trouble?

“Also, a study is included there, unless they are going up market, I find it hard to believe that these are for local people.

“I just wanted to add those comments,” he said.

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