Bringing alive redundant sites for social and community housing

With continued demand for good quality affordable social housing and sheltered accommodation in Powys, a recent project designed and submitted for planning by Hughes Architects has been successfully approved, ensuring the availability of such housing in a Mid Wales town.

The former Welshpool Social Club site off Brook Street in Welshpool was acquired by HA's client, Mid Wales Properties Ltd, to develop affordable residential housing on behalf of Mid Wales Housing Association.

The site, close to the town centre, had remained vacant since it closed as a social club a number of years ago, leaving the building redundant in what is an existing residential area.

Hughes Architects was appointed to design apartments and seek planning approval.

"The former social club site is close to the town centre as well as being situated within an existing resiential area in the town," said Richard Lewis, the architect who worked on the project.

"It was important for us to create a design that was not only in-keeping with the locality, but provided good quality living accommodation for the residents.

"In addition, with its town centre location, it will provide the tenants with good access to local amenities and public transport, as well as bringing forward what is otherwsie a redunandant brownfield site."

Hughes Architects undertook a pre-planning consultation in which the town council, county councills, residents and the local community was able to comment on the design and plans.

Following the consultation and discussions, Hughes Architects took into consideration the comments made in the process and revised the designs and eventual planning application accordingly.

"The whole point of the pre-planning consultation is to allow interested parties in the community the time and opportunity to comment on such plans before they go into the planning system. This ensures their views are heard and taken into consideratiomn before the formal planning process begins," said Richard.

Powys County Council's planning committee undertook a site visit and considered the planning application before being formally approved.

"We're pleased the application was approved. It will bring forward much needed social housing in Welshpool," added Richard.

The application is the latest of several social housing schemes that have been designed by Hughes Architects who have also successfully achieved planning permission.

Other schemes have included the former magistartes court and army cadet site in Back Lane, Newtown, along with the land belonging to the bowling club in the town, as well as Fairview in Llandrindod Wells where a large Victorian building has been brought back into use as social housing.

These projects are in addition to other social houising schemes, housing developments and local needs properties designed and successfully approved by planning authorites throughout Mid Wales in recent years.