Plans from the Ruthin business for 300 homes and the refurbishment of the historic North Wales Hospital site are recommended for approval.
The latest proposal to come forward for the long-unused site includes the creation of 34 apartments within the main complex of listed buildings, the demolition of various buildings formerly linked to the hospital, and the development of more than 300 homes and business space.
Submitted in May 2020, the plans will be considered by Denbighshire County Council next week.
Mainly a civil engineering group, Jones Bros’ intention is that the main residential scheme will pay for the redevelopment of the listed buildings, while the scheme also includes 12,000 sq ft of business space and a new home for Denbigh Cricket Club.
A hybrid application submitted by Les Stephan Planning seeks full consent for the listed building works, and outline consent for the wider 22-acre site development.
Denbigh’s housing team has given the project its backing, saying it “welcomes the submission of a planning application for the former North Wales hospital; aiming to restore these important historic buildings with the long-term view of bringing them back into residential use”.
Acebench Investments, in 2004, and the Prince’s Trust, in 2014, had previously advanced proposals for the site, but failed to progress beyond securing consents.
DCC took control of the 1840s-built estate, empty since 1995, in late 2018, with a consultation on its future opening in late 2019.
The application states that the hope is to retain the main range buildings and the chapel, with the option of also retaining the Aled Ward Building. Those set to be demolished include the Nurses Home, isolation ward and mortuary buildings.
Two new main access points are proposed, both from the Pont Ystrad Road. Development could take place in five phases, with the first to include the most vital works to the grade two-listed structures on site – all the buildings on the estate are on the ‘at risk’ register.
Although the town council has noted the lack of affordable housing, the applicant believes, according to the planning officers’ report, that the threshold of special circumstances has been met: that the proposal “meets an identified, acknowledged and overriding approved regeneration aim or project in accordance with an approved Council regeneration strategy, and, the provision of affordable housing would seriously prejudice this”.
Officers suggest that the developer should be encouraged to provide an element of smaller homes that, even if not classed as affordable, would free up further housing in the area at the lower reaches of the housing ladder.
Approval is recommended on the basis of a phased plan being agreed that sees the restoration project proceed as capital is raised from house sales, and that efforts are made on the Aled Ward retention.