PLANS to turn an empty office in Wrexham into flats have been backed for approval, despite concerns over the standard of accommodation.
An application to convert a property on King Street, which was previously home to law firm Slater and Gordon, was put forward at the end of last year.
The building has stood empty for more than three years after the company closed the branch in January 2018.
Applicant Michal Palamarczuk said it would result in five flats being created aimed at people working in the town centre.
However, members of the Wrexham Area Civic Society have raised objections after claiming the flats would be too small and have little natural daylight.
In comments submitted to Wrexham Council, they said: “This proposal is yet another of several substandard ones for domestic conversion of former retail premises in the town centre.
“The proposal of five units is far too intensive.
“The building is detached but the space to the building on the right is not much more than a foot and this must account for there being no window shown in a ground floor bedroom (with) no daylight, which would be minimal anyway, and no ventilation.
“Two flats on the ground floor have windows opening out into bin storage areas.
“Three bedrooms are so small there appears to be no space for storage.”
Consultants acting on behalf of Mr Palamarczuk said the property had been empty for some time, receiving no interest when it was advertised for rent for its original purpose.
They said the plans would have a positive impact by bringing a vacant building back into use.
The proposals follow several similar schemes being approved nearby as part of a move to encourage town centre living.
The local authority’s chief planning officer has recommended the latest plans to go ahead, despite acknowledging most of the windows in the flats would be located either a short distance from a neighbouring property or an outside wall.
In a report, Lawrence Isted said: “Whilst the distances are less than local planning guidance note (LPGN) 21 recommends, I do not consider this to be a valid reason to refuse permission in this instance.
“If LPGN21 were rigidly applied to conversion schemes then it would severely inhibit opportunities to re-use existing buildings.
“Within a town centre location, buildings are at higher densities that elsewhere and as such it is appropriate for there to be a degree of flexibility in applying LPGN21, particularly as it is guidance rather than a fixed standard.
“Furthermore, it is likely that those who wish to live in a town centre location would appreciate that available accommodation offers a different standard of amenity to a property in a more suburban location.”
The proposals will be considered by members of the council’s planning committee at a meeting on Monday (April 12, 2021).