Posted: Fri 4th Aug 2023

Private members club on Flintshire-Chester border may be converted into holiday lets, boosting tourism in the area. /

A PRIVATE members club on the Flintshire-Chester border could be converted into more than half-a-dozen holiday lets.
Flintshire Council has received a change of use planning application for Oddfellows Hall on the High Street next to St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Saltney.
According to a design and access statement submitted with the plans, Oddfellows Hall, dating back to 1878, is an independent private members club with no religious or political affiliations.
Members pay a membership fee and can take advantage of local meetings and access social events and activities including a travel club, but the venue has been running at a loss for 15 years and the management says it cannot afford to keep putting their own money into it.
Meetings take place once a month in the upstairs committee room with occasional social meetings for members only and a local Masonic Lodge also hold occasional meetings but the remainder of the time Oddfellows Hall is a private venue for hire.
The design and access statement states: “In recent years Oddfellows have seen a reduction in membership in association with a reduced level of private hire income. There has been little local interest in Oddfellows membership and the venue has been running at a loss since 2008.
“It was hoped that offering the private room hire would attract people to become members but this has not occurred.
The building itself has some large spaces which require heating and lighting and increases in energy prices has been a huge pressure for the management. If a one-hour hire is booked for a room the whole building is required to be heated and the economics do not stack up.
“In addition the services the hall provides is duplicated in several other venues within the immediate locality. The management of Oddfellows, who have had to find money from their investments to survive, can no longer do this and have decided to move from the premises and rent a small-serviced office in Hawarden for their management function.
“They will, in future, continue to hold their monthly meetings etc at Douglas Place community centre in Saltney.”
The proposal is to convert the existing building into seven holiday lets, the configuration allowing for three one-bed units and four two-bed units. A single storey rear extension is proposed to cater for the one bed seventh unit.
In addition 12 car parking spaces are identified to the side and rear of the building and the existing access on the High Street will be utilised.
The design and access statement says: “The existing building has windows in a vertical form on both main elevations. This form has been retained though the window style has been altered in order for them to serve the individual holiday lets.
“The rear single storey extension will have direct access to the rear car park and will be constructed in brick and roof materials to match along with coping stone in line with the existing structure. The holiday lets are to cater for tourists visiting the area and will be a boost to the tourism facilities in this part of Flintshire.
It adds: “The proposed development is considered to be in keeping with the character and appearance of the building and locality as a whole. The extension design and conversion has been considered and reflects well on the building. The use as a tourist facility is promoted within the policies of the extant development plan and will boost tourist facilities within the Flintshire area.”
Flintshire Council planners will make a decision on the proposals at a future date. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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