A WELSH Government building will be used as a health facility safeguarding 21 jobs in Llandrindod Wells.
Back in March, NHS Wales Shared Health Services lodged a retrospective planning application with Powys County Council to change the use of the Spa building on Spa Road East from office use to office and a “D1” testing and vaccination centre.
The Spa building was the base of the Welsh Government’s Agriculture department.
The D1 building category is for “non-residential use” and means that the building could be used for a wide range of purposes including health centre, clinics, school, day nursery, and even a library or place of worship.
The application is partly retrospective as parts of the building’s ground floor have been used by Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) as a Covid-19 testing and vaccination centre since June, last year.
Documents lodged with the application state that its use as a mass vaccination centre will continue.
In support of the application, planning agent Davide Bertaggia of Asbri Planning Ltd said that formalising the use of the Spa building would not “prejudice the existing of future use” of other medical facilities in the town such as the War Memorial Hospital, Lakeside Pharmacy or the medical practice.
Powys County Council principal planning officer Gemma Bufton said that there is planning policy that “seeks” to protect existing sites of employment.
Ms Bufton said: “Given the mixed-use proposal for the application which would still seek to retain the B1 use class, and which would not prejudice the existing or future operational use of surrounding employment site/premises I have no objection to the proposal.”
She added that another policy supports buildings being used as hospitals, surgeries, and other medical facilities.
Ms Bufton said: “Given the mixed use nature of the application along with the location within a town as identified under the Local Development Plan (LDP) there would be no objection to the mixed use of the building to a B1 and D1 use class.”
Due to concerns about pollution, there is a restriction on depositing phosphates in the River Wye – which can affect building development in the Wye’s catchment area such as Llandrindod Wells.
Ms Bufton said: “The occupancy of the building will not be increased and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) guidance states that the development can be screened out as not having a likely significant effect.
“The application site does adjoin the conservation area for Llandrindod Wells, given that no external works are proposed to the building, I can confirm that no objections will be raised in this respect.”
Due to these reasons Ms Bufton approved the application.
Many of the Welsh Government workers from the Spa building are now based over the road at Powys County Council headquarters.