Posted: Fri 12th Apr 2024

Crumlin Square Council Approves Flats Conversion Despite Parking Concerns /

Caerphilly councillors have granted planning permission to turn part of an “iconic” building into flats in Crumlin Square, despite concerns over parking.
The Llanover Estate intends to convert the upper floors of the former Crumlin Institute, described as a “prominent brick and stone-fronted three-storey building”.
The site currently has several business units on the ground floor, some of which are vacant, but these are not included in the plans for redevelopment.
Eight “self-contained” one-bedroom flats have been proposed, comprising four new homes on each of the building’s upper floors.
At a planning committee meeting on Wednesday April 10, two ward councillors complained that locals were already struggling to park around Crumlin Square when visiting the nearby post office, pub, snooker hall and takeaway.
Cllr Kristian Woodland told the committee there was “not currently adequate parking in the area” and the addition of new flats “will make it even more difficult to safely park”.
Fellow Crumlin ward councillor Carl Thomas said local businesses “rely” on people being able to park outside, adding that more customers were visiting the square because other post offices and bank branches in the region had closed down.
But when members of the planning committee began to sympathise, senior planning officers warned the council was in no position to refuse planning permission for the flats based on parking supply.
Planners said the parking requirement for the new homes – estimated at nine spaces – was dwarfed by the 49 spaces linked to the building’s current office use.
Ryan Thomas, the council’s planning services manager, asked the committee to consider whether the flats would “have more impact than the extant use”.
Mr Thomas said “the answer to that has got to be ‘no’”.
Carwyn Powell, the council’s team leader development manager, reminded the committee it had recently rejected a planning application for Crosskeys, on parking grounds, only for a Welsh Government planning inspector to side with the applicant during an appeal hearing.
“If members were minded to reject [the Crumlin application], I don’t think we can defend that at appeal,” Mr Powell warned.
Planning office Anthony Pyne told the committee the Crumlin Institute was “quite a handsome building” and there would be minimal alterations to the outside, save for the addition of two new windows.
Martin Lennon, an agent speaking on behalf of the applicant, noted a “chronic shortage of one-bedroom units in the borough” and said the flats would be built in a “sustainable location” and bring the old Crumlin Institute “into beneficial use”.
The planning committee voted 12-1 in favour of the application.
Committee chairman, Cllr Roy Saralis, said he was “sympathetic with local members and residents” but believed the “iconic building… has to be put to good use”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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