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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Ruined convent scheme approved
St Clare's Convent at Pantasaph
The convent will be turned into flats
A ruined convent which dominates the skyline for drivers along the A55 in north Wales is to be redeveloped after controversial plans were approved.

Flintshire planners had welcomed amended plans by developers to demolish part of St Clare's Convent at Pantasaph and convert the rest of the building into 28 apartments.

There had earlier been wide scale objections to the plans.

Twelve new houses will now be built on the site.

The building was badly damaged in a fire many years ago and was closed as a convent in 1977.

Sister Sarah Mooney, who worked at the convent for several years, said she has fond memories of her time there.

Religious reaction

"We have many children who come back wanting to know if they can trace their families, they come back and we try and help them as best we can," she said.

"One family came and the youngest was only a baby and the eldest was about 12.

"They stayed here until the eldest one left and I think the youngest would've been about 12 herself so they were here about 12 years."

Members of the local community had expressed concerns over the new housing.

Villagers feared the new homes could damage the small community.

Flintshire planning department received 200 letters about the redevelopment plan being put forward by David McLean Holdings - 170 of them against the proposal and 30 in favour.

St Clare's Convent at Pantasaph
Residents are worried the village will lose out

Whitford community councillor Tegwen Thomas who represents Pantasaph said local people had mixed feelings about the development.

"We're very pleased in principle in that it means that the area can be regenerated to be made a viable residence once more.

"The old building itself will be improved to allow 28 flats to be built.

"We are unhappy about the other aspect of this planning application which involves building additional houses around the building in order to make the whole thing financially viable.

"Whilst we accept that some houses will be required to make it financially viable we're concerned about the number which is as many as 12," he said.

It had been suggested that the site could be used as a crematorium.

Council officials admitted that the proposals are contrary to planning policy but - in this case - those policies should be over-ridden.

They claimed the development would secure the retention and renovation of an important and highly-prominent building.

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