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Plan to build 94 homes at North Wales private school site approved

Conwy County Council

PLANS to build 94 homes on land at a North Wales private school have been given the green light.

Castle Green Homes submitted their plans to Conwy County Council in the spring of 2022, requesting planning permission to build on land at Rydal Penrhos Preparatory and Pre-School on Pwllycrochan Avenue in Colwyn Bay.

The developer sought permission to demolish school buildings and replace them with 63 homes as well as 31 apartments in the existing Pwllycrochan House building, which dates back to the early 1800s.

They applied to knock down a modern extension to Pwllycrochan House as well as the Preparatory School Science and IT building, the Assembly Hall and associated outbuildings to make room for the homes.

The council received objections from neighbours, who feared the sewer systems would be overwhelmed causing flooding.

Residents also complained about access, loss of sunlight, and homes being devalued.

Matters came to a head in October this year when the Welsh Government confirmed they were considering a request from the developer to call the matter in, yet the council refused to confirm why the matter was being held up.

But the plans were finally discussed at a meeting at Bodlondeb by Conwy’s planning committee yesterday (Thursday) where councillors backed two separate planning applications giving the development the green light – the second application was needed due to Pwllycrochan House being a listed building.

Cllr Chris Cater proposed the committee voted in favour of the plans, and this was seconded by Cllr Dave Jones.

“There are a lot of positive things about this application,” said Cllr Cater.

“First are the 19 affordable houses. I welcome that.

“I welcome the preservation of Pwllycrochan House itself. It is very historic.

“I don’t think there’s any problem with demolishing the relatively modern extensions. They didn’t have any value.

“But the core of this Victorian house will be preserved, and I admit that, yesterday when we went round it (on a site visit), it was very obvious the huge expense it must be in its present state for the school to maintain it and heat it.”

Cllr Cater also welcomed the fact that Erskine Cottage, a property on the grounds, was being preserved and that a playground was being included as part of the development.

The chamber heard how the town council had also backed the plans, despite it being in a conservation area.

Cllr Trevor Stott was unwell and not present at the meeting, but gave a statement read by chairman Cllr Austin Roberts.

Cllr Stott asked the committee to reject the application because of poor drainage.

Speaking at the meeting, an unnamed resident also appealed to the committee to reject the application, arguing the council had had 80 letters opposing the plans.

“The density of the development is not in keeping with your policy about development affecting heritage and assets, which says the character of low-density conservation areas should not be eroded,” she said.

“The loss of open space will inevitably result in a degree of harm to the conservation area, not to mention the environmental impact.”

She added: “Yet again here is another large development being proposed.”

But both planning applications were approved.

The 31 flats at Pwllycrochan House will consist of one one-bedroom apartment, 21 two-bedroom apartments, and nine three-bedroom apartments.

The development will include 76 parking spaces for the flats and landscaped gardens.

The 63 homes will include 19 affordable dwellings, and 44 ‘market dwellings’ and will be a mix of four, three, and two-bedroom homes.