A GEORGIAN inn that overlooks and shares its name with Chepstow Castle can be turned into a house with four new homes in the beer garden, planners have ruled.
The go ahead was given despite objections from some 20 neighbours who raised concerns about access for building lorries, traffic safety fears and loss of privacy.
Built in the 18th century within arrow-range of the historic monument, the development at the Grade II-listed Chepstow Castle Inn and in its garden will see the demolition of the modern function room, toilets, kitchen and part of the bar to make way for the new homes.
Monmouthshire Council planners were told by objectors that the Bridge Street one-way access road for the proposed development was “unsafe, inadequate and dangerous.”
But the five-home application by Doug Mayo was approved on condition of a £35,000 Section 106 payment towards affordable housing in the town, where the population is currently growing owing to largescale building development.
Opposing the plan, neighbour Caroline Banks said: “In this area of Chepstow we already face an enormous development at the bottom of Lower Church Street.
“While that development is incomplete those new properties that have been erected have already had an adverse effect on traffic volumes.”
Christopher Cox said that while he wasn’t opposed to the building of new homes, he was worried that the parking area for 18 cars would be shared access and untarmaced.
“This development will just be a mess, for its neighbours, and a pure profiteering exercise for the owner, if the car parking area is not addressed correctly,” he claimed.
“The developer should not be allowed to just make the profit from the plots without making good the facilities.”
Dr Fraser Gene Smith said it was “ridiculous” not to have concerns about the “very narrow driveway” to the pub car park, right next to his boundary, which would see “months of building lorries and support traffic alone”.
“The outer wall of my house has already been struck and damaged four times (and) I have an impending claim,” he said.
“Being so narrow for some 300 yards (40ft walls on either side ), what will happen when a neighbour going out meets a neighbour arriving… the driveway is also directly onto a one-way narrow street.”
Lynda Pain added: “There is a high risk of accidents to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles on coming out and attempting to join the main traffic which is already past breaking point at peak times in this area.”
And Dr Simon Cottle said: “Chepstow is already very congested with traffic, and suffers from unacceptable levels of pollution.
“Increased traffic, associated noise, pollution and detrimental impact of the local habitats and ecology for wildlife are all unacceptable, especially in the context of recent poor planning decisions to go ahead with other major housing developments in the area.”
Chepstow Town Council didn’t oppose the plan entirely, but urged for the number of new homes to be reduced.
Approval was given to the plan on the conditions of the provision of an archaeological mitigation scheme, and satisfactory bin storage and drainage arrangements for the
Recommending approval, council planning officer Kate Young said on its change of use from a pub: “The local community is adequately served by alternative facilities, there being at least 24 public houses and licensed restaurants within Chepstow, the vast majority of which are within 250m of the Castle Inn.”
And she added: “The design of the (new) dwellings are respectful of the prevailing character of the area and contribute towards a sense of place.
“The proposal will preserve the character of the Chepstow Conservation Area and the setting of the listed building.”
Approval was given on condition of the provision of an archaeological mitigation scheme, and satisfactory bin storage and drainage arrangements.