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Flats plan could revive old disused church in central Newport

St Paul's Church in Commercial Street, Newport (Pic: Planning Heritage)

A DISUSED church in central Newport could be turned into flats, according to a new planning application.

Listed building consent would be required if the conversion of St Paul’s Church, in Commercial Street, is to get the thumbs-up from city council planners.

St Paul’s was built in 1835 but hasn’t been used for services for several years, and part of the church later became the home of a support service for drug users.

A previous application to build 20 flats inside the church was thrown out in February 2022 because of concerns about bats and “preserving the special historic interests of the building”.

Now, applicant A. Brown is making a second bid to convert the building, this time into nine flats.

A design statement from agents LPC (Trull) Ltd argues planners’ concerns from 2022 have been “considered and addressed” in the new application.

If the plans are approved, six two-bedroom flats and three three-bedroom flats could be built inside St Paul’s.

Inside St Paul’s Church in Commercial Street, Newport (Pic: LPC Trull Ltd)

The reduction in planned flats is “considered to represent a more sympathetic and a less intensified change of use”, according to the agents.

Any “alternative community use” of the old church “would not be feasible”, they added, arguing St Paul’s “in its current condition is not considered to be fit for purpose for public use for health and safety reasons”.

“The roof requires repairing, weather proofing and the interior is in serious need of refurbishment,” the agents said. “It would require a significant financial outlay to make the building accessible and safe as a community facility which would not be a viable proposition on top of its existing market value.”

In a statement, consultants Planning Heritage noted the church is a Grade II listed building and a “recognised heritage asset”.

The consultants noted the building had been “subjected to various arson attacks”, causing damage to the the doors, plasterwork and ceiling.

St Paul’s in its current condition “blights the locality and neighbouring properties”, and the proposed conversion into flats would be a “fitting solution”, according to the consultants’ report.

The application for listed building consent for the church conversion can be viewed on the Newport City Council website under reference 24/0045.