Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

Plans to reinstate abandoned farmhouse in Carmarthenshire approved

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023

A developer has finally been granted planning permission to reinstate an abandoned farmhouse in a remote part of Carmarthenshire into a four-bedroom home. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

But the man, Paul Davies, claimed a requirement to pay an affordable housing contribution of nearly £28,000 had surfaced late in the planning process, and he felt that it had tied his hands. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Paul Davies said he had even put the derelict house up for sale because of the affordable housing requirement, but he has now agreed to pay it. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mr Davies bought Blaenaufforest – south-east of Lampeter and west of the village of Ffarmers – in 2021. It came with 107 acres of land. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He submitted plans to the county council to reinstate the old farmhouse, convert the adjacent outbuilding and link the two structures to create a four-bedroom home. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Planning officers turned down the application because they said evidence wasn’t provided that the building, which appears on a map from 1887 and hasn’t had a roof for more than 20 years, was “physically sound and substantially intact.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mr Davies, who had begun farming the land at Blaenaufforest, applied for permission again. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A planning agent on his behalf said key features and the general character of the old farmhouse would be retained. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Planning officers recommended it for refusal when it came before the council’s planning committee in March this year. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Officers said that although a structural report had been provided, they didn’t accept its findings that the main parts the building were sound and substantially intact. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

But after a long debate, councillors were minded to approve the application, subject to conditions being imposed and an affordable housing contribution being made by Mr Davies. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

This appears to have been the first time an affordable housing contribution was mentioned – as part of a legal agreement to be signed by Mr Davies and the council – although at this point the application had been recommended for refusal. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The application was brought back to the planning committee for a final decision on April 27, when it emerged that Blaenaufforest had been put up for sale for £450,000. No reason was given as to why. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

But a planning officer then told the committee that Mr Davies had very recently taken it back off the market and agreed to pay a £27,978 affordable housing contribution. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Although planning officers still recommended refusal, the committee voted to approve it. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Mansel Charles said: “I very much hope that this family will keep to the promises of repairing this house and will live in this rural community for many years.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

After the meeting, Mr Davies told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he had put Blaenaufforest up for sale because of the £27,978 affordable housing requirement, but had then agreed to pay it. “We feel as though we’ve had no choice in the matter,” he said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Mr Davies said he expected it would take a year to complete the derelict farmhouse and outbuilding project and that he intended to live in the new four-bedroom home with his partner. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said he had a small flock of sheep and had put up fencing, and that he would start planting hedges. He said “The land hasn’t really been touched for decades,” he said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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