RESIDENTS living on a ‘tranquil’ Colwyn Bay street say plans for 23 affordable apartments would be out of character of the area.
Wales and West Housing Association has applied to Conwy County Council’s planning department, seeking permission to develop the site of the now vacant Guy’s Cliff Nursing Home on the corner of Conway Road and Alexandra Road.
The home’s last owner retired, selling the building before Christmas 2022.
Conwy is currently in the middle of a housing crisis, with hundreds of people on the council waiting list for homes, so the authority is in dire need of affordable properties.
Councillors have said that affordable housing across the county is badly needed to meet a rising demand and help solve a homelessness problem.
But some residents fear the plans would be ‘a gross overdevelopment of a peaceful area’.
Resident Tobi Ross is one of a group of residents who have contacted MP David Jones and MS Darren Millar about the proposals.
“Alexandra Road, nestled within the West End of Colwyn Bay and adjacent to the conservation area at the south end, boasts a unique charm and architectural heritage,” said Svetlana.
“The tranquil road is flanked on both sides by exquisite two-storey red brick and stone-fronted Edwardian semi-detached houses, gracefully set back from the road, that has remained unchanged for over 120 years. This neighbourhood consists of 13 private residences, three nursing homes, and a centre dedicated to aiding sight and hearing-impaired.
“The proposed structure, with its 23 apartments spanning three stories, starkly contrasts with the local architectural character of one of Colwyn Bay’s most picturesque roads.
“Furthermore, it blatantly disregards the criteria outlined by Conwy Council for harmonising with existing street lines, ridge lines, and car parking requirements. Such a development, in essence, represents an unwarranted intensification and gross overdevelopment of a peaceful suburban neighbourhood.”
He added, “One of the local residents, in his professional capacity as a local housing construction site manager, has overseen the construction of numerous housing projects in the Conwy area, including open/mixed and purely social housing developments, amounting to over 400 homes, with 150 designated for social housing.
“His experience allows us to appreciate the vital importance of catering to social housing needs while also considering the interests of the open market and first-time buyers. However, it is abundantly clear that the proposed development in question would not align with the standards set by Conwy Council if it were for an open market project.
“Our community’s concern revolves around the potential expedited approval of this development by the council planning committee. There is apprehension that they might use the pretext of addressing social housing needs, neglecting due consideration for the well-being of the existing community.”
A heritage statement provided as part of the application explained the former nursing home building was made up of two former separate homes. The statement added that the buildings did not have heritage recognition or protection and were not listed buildings – or within a conservation area.
The statement reads: “Individually the buildings afford no particular heritage merit being typical examples of early 20th century building types, adulterated by modern interventions, found in towns and cities across the UK.”
The heritage statement suggested the new design should be in keeping with the area.
“In general built-environment terms, however, some value may be seen to lie in how the scale forms and general appearance of Guy’s Cliff accords, complements, and reinforces the character of the neighbourhood,” it reads.
The planning application will be debated at a future Conwy County Council planning committee, and residents have until February 1 to write either in support or in objection to the development.
Wales and West Housing Association was contacted for a comment.