Worried that B&B will become housing for the homeless

Residents raised concerns after planners gave the green light to transform a long-closed medical practice into an 18-room B&B.

Some people fear the former Carreg Wen surgery in Church Road, Blaenavon, could become homeless accommodation, after a Torfaen Council planning officer approved the application despite not being unclear whether it would be used for “temporary (emergency) accommodation”. .

While the request from Abertillery builder Andrew Bolter said it would help accommodate tourists visiting the UNESCO-listed town, it also said that “locals who have no place to go “could stay there.

One woman wrote: “There is definitely a need, but whether it’s the right place is another matter.”

A mother of young children added: ‘Can the councilors who helped bring this planning through can you assure that all residents in this accommodation will be properly placed and assure us that no one will pose a potential risk to the children, please.

“Assurances must be made here. Residents were not informed of this plan.

A poster also claimed that allowing a possible “multiple occupancy house” could even harm the town’s World Heritage status.

While accepting homelessness was an issue and a place was needed locally to house people, one woman said: ‘The actual use of this building is over bed and breakfast as there should have been … appropriate assurances as to who would be placed there. People’s concerns should have been properly addressed.

A poster stormed off: “If it’s going to be an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation), let people know and be honest, so people can raise their concerns – screen use of B&B smoke is not enabled!”

Another poster added: ‘None of the neighbors have been told…some of the elderly neighbors are very worried, some are even considering moving out.’

The surgery was closed in 2011 and health services moved to a new community campus site at Middle Coedcae Road.

As part of the B&B plan, 11 rooms will be created on the ground floor of the site, and seven others on the first floor.

A steel staircase outside the building will also be erected to provide access to the bedrooms on the first floor.

A report to council by the highways officer said: ‘The officer’s letter appears to say this will not be run as a standard B&B, it appears residents will be those seeking temporary accommodation and those in need of temporary accommodation. Support.”

And although the scheme was passed with conditions, the council’s planning officer said: ‘It is not entirely clear from the submission whether the proposal is for a tourism-related B&B, temporary accommodation ( emergency) for people in need of housing, short-term accommodation (e.g. infrastructure contractors who may work locally in the area) or a combination of some or all of the above. »

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