Former offices used by the Countryside Council for Wales are to be demolished to make way for a 39-flat complex for older people in Bangor.
The building at Plas Penrhos, Penrhosgarnedd, has been vacant for several years, but looks set to be razed to the ground and replaced with 18 one-bed and 21 two-bed affordable units after being given the planning go-ahead.
Adra, which submitted the plans at the site on the outskirts of the city, said there was a demand by people wanting to downsize because of the “bedroom tax”.
The three storey building, covered by solar panels on its roof, will house the over 55s while also providing 31 parking spaces.
The application was passed by Gwynedd Council Planning Committee members on Monday despite concerns over the already congested Ffordd Penrhos.
Sioned Edwards, speaking on behalf of the applicants, said that priority would be given to those with a local connection and would help meet the 130 people over the age of 55 waiting for a one or two bedroom home in the area.
According to the social housing provider, with many having been impacted by the “bedroom tax,” such a development would allow several older people to downsize while also releasing larger sized housing in the area.
Under the tax, or spare room subsidy, people who receive welfare payments see their housing benefit reduced if they have one or more spare bedrooms.
“Following recent changes to the benefits system, several tenants have suffered due to the bedroom tax because of under occupancy and wish to move to a smaller home,” said the company as part of its application.
“One and two-bedroom properties would assist Adra to better manage its current stock and enable those applicants who wish to move to a smaller home, thus releasing a larger property to other applicants.
“This would also help families on the housing register who require 3 or 4- bedroom homes.”
But local councillor, Gareth Roberts, said that concerns had been raised by nearby residents on the density of the plans as well as “overlooking” nearby Llys Adda.
“Car parking is going to be very limited, one allocated space for every unit doesn’t appear to be enough.
“There’s a congestion issue on the roads in the area, leading to Ysbyty Gwynedd.”
Fellow Bangor councillor, Huw Wyn Jones, said that they faced a “difficult decision” and would personally like to see a lower density application presented.
“I agree there’s potential traffic issues but as others have said, developments like these can release a lot of housing in the area as people downsize,” he added.
“But the site needs developing, certainly.”
According to the company, 205 of Adra’s managed properties in Bangor are being under occupied by one bedroom (with at least 76 being over 55 years years of age), with 60 being under occupied by two bedrooms (33 being over 55 years of age).
The plans were approved by nine votes with one abstention and none against.