Chimneys removed from listed Wrexham building may have to be reinstated
Chimneysremoved from a listed building in Wrexham city centre may have to be reinstated.
Wrexham Council’s planning committee looks set to refuse a retrospective planning application for the removal of four chimneys from a property on Yorke Street, which is within the city’s Special Conservation Area.
This is the second time the applicant has sought planning permission, having previously been refused in July last year as the property, which is a restaurant with offices above it, is listed as a building of visual interest in the conservation area.
The building previously had four chimneys, one of which sustained damage in stormy weather in early 2022.
Wrexham Council’s Building Control issued a Dangerous Structures Notice as parts of the chimney were falling off onto the street below.
The notice required that one chimney to be repaired and any loose material removed so that it was no longer dangerous but did not require the chimney to be removed.
But according to the council the notice did not require any work to be undertaken to the other three chimneys.
Planning documents say that Building Control acknowledges it would have been difficult and potentially impractical to repair the dangerous chimney.
But while the applicant has suggested that at least one other chimney was in poor condition, no evidence has been submitted regarding the condition of any of the other chimneys.
A planning officer’s report for councillors to consider, states: “The removal of chimneys from a non-residential property are works that materially alter the appearance of the building and therefore constitute development as defined by Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
“Non-residential properties do not benefit from any permitted development rights to undertake such works.
“The applicant has therefore applied for planning permission retrospectively to regularise the works.”
The report adds: “The Wrexham Town Centre Conservation Area and Management Plan identifies 18 Yorke Street as a building of visual interest.
“The buildings adjoining the property are also identified as buildings of visual interest as are all of the buildings on the east side of the Yorke Street up to Wynnstay Hotel. The latter is identified as a landmark building.
“The Town Centre Conservation Area and Management Plan identifies chimney stacks as important features of the roof-scape and advises that they must be retained, even if no longer required.
“All of the buildings referred to above have chimneystacks, indeed this is a feature that is integral to the character of Yorke Street and the wider conservation area.
“Whilst 18 Yorke Street is an unusual building presenting a curved frontage to the street, with curving roof above, the work undertaken has removed features that were integral to the character of the building and to the roof scape of the street and wider conservation area, to the detriment of both.”
Council planning officers have again recommended refusing the application but the decision rests with the planning committee which meets next Tuesday (May 9).
If councillors refuse the application again, chief planning officer David Fitzsimon could serve a Planning Enforcement Notice requiring the re-instatement of the four chimneystacks, with delegated authority granted to determine the final form and content of the notice.
By BBC LDRS
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