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Controversial plan to convert Welshpool Youth Centre into homes rejected

Plans to convert Welshpool youth centre into homes has been rejected by Powys planners (Pic: Google Streetview)

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to convert Welshpool Youth Centre into homes has been thrown out by Powys council planners.

Back in November last year Anna Majkowska lodged a planning application with Powys County Council to convert the property on Howell Drive into two homes with the associated works.

Mrs Majkowska said: “The proposal is to convert the property to residential to create a home for my family.”

The first part of her proposal was to convert part of the building into a three-bedroom home with space to create a garden.

The second phase would be to “maintain and preserve” the rest of the building with the “potential” to convert it into a second property in the future.

Concerns were raised at the time about the youth centre’s future.

Over the ensuing six months, Welshpool Town Council looked to buy the building and a bid for the site has been accepted by Powys County Council subject to funding.

When the town council discussed the planning application at a meeting in January the councillors objected to the proposals and stated three issues with the scheme.

Town councillors objected to the plans due to the need to keep the facility, a business lease already in place, and there being a covenant with the town council on the building.

In his report Powys council planning officer Luke Woosnam explained that there is a policy in their Local Development Plan (LPD) that “seeks” to protect community facilities and services. In the case of this proposal the youth centre and nursery.

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The loss of these would only be permitted when it has been “demonstrated” that the premises has been actively marketed for sale for a “minimum” of six months.

The applicant would need to show that “genuine efforts” to sell or let the property for that six-month period have been “unsuccessful.”

Evidence of this would need to be included in the planning application documents.

Mr Woosnam said: “The proposal does not provide justification for the loss of these community facilities.

“No information has been submitted to demonstrate that alternative solutions to support the long-term economic viability of the business have been demonstrated to have been adequately explored or that the continued use is no longer viable.”

Due to this he considers that the proposal is “contrary” to the relevant LDP policy.

Mr Woosnam said: “In light of the considerations, it is considered that the proposed development in its current form is contrary to planning policy and the decision is one of refusal.”

Plans to change the use of the building into a storage and car parts sales shop were withdrawn in January 2023.