Posted: Wed 9th Dec 2020

Plans to convert derelict HSBC bank in Cefn Mawr into flats receive green light for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

Plans to convert a derelict village bank into flats have been given the green light after councillors heard it had fallen into a state of disrepair.

The former HSBC bank building on Well Street in Cefn Mawr has stood empty for almost a decade following its closure.

An application was submitted to Wrexham Council in May this year for the 19th century property to be converted into seven one-bedroom flats.

The scheme, which would also see the creation of a new extension, was backed for approval by officers ahead of a planning committee meeting on Monday.

The proposals were supported by councillors despite one community leader raising concerns over the lack of parking spaces provided.

Speaking at the start of the virtual meeting, planning officer David Williams told them it would improve the appearance of the area.

He said: “As you can see from the photographs from the reports, the building has been vacant for some time, it’s fallen to a poor state of repair and it’s clearly having an adverse impact on the conservation area.

“In terms of the actual detail of the extension and the renovation works, significant care has been taken to ensure that the traditional features are being repaired or replaced in a traditional style.

“There is a car park opposite, which can accommodate up to 20 spaces.

“There isn’t any other parking provided with this development, but I think we need to bear in mind here that the existing use as a bank would have had a parking demand.”

Cefn Mawr Community Council members were among those who objected to the plans as they said it would impact on a car park used by a nearby doctor’s surgery.

Local councillor Derek Wright spoke at the meeting to criticise the lack of enforcement carried out against drivers who park illegally in the village.

He said: “For the last four years we have not any enforcement at all on parking restrictions.

“The council should take every effort to ensure that parking enforcement is carried out when it is quoted in a report for being part of the conditions for accepting it.

“I’ve seen up to 12 vehicles illegally parked on this street at any one time.

“People just ignore it completely and the yellow lines might as well not be there.”

In a report, the council’s chief planning officer claimed future residents living in the flats would be unlikely to own a car.

Meanwhile, Cllr Sonia Benbow-Jones, who also represents Cefn Mawr on the local authority, highlighted the growing demand for one-bed apartments.

She said: “It’s a challenge as we have a desperate need for single person properties.

“I accept what Derek was saying about the parking. I also would say his point about when work is being done on the front of the building, it is absolutely essential that we protect the access to one of the two doctors in the village.

“Parking is always going to be a problem and I do feel that it’s one of those things that we’re not going to find any solution for.

“But what I am very much aware of is the pressing need for single person apartments.”

Councillors unanimously voted to support the scheme at the end of the debate.

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter

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