CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert a former job centre in Tredegar into a Bed and Breakfast have been rejected by Blaenau Gwent councillors.

The plans to turn the building on Coronation Street in Tredegar into an 11-bedroom bed and breakfast were back in front of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday, October 14.

The committee had deferred the application at their September meetings due to concerns that it could become an anti-social behaviour hotspot.

A belief it could become a “halfway house” for people released from prison and that there had been problems in Tredegar with a similar development had been highlighted by county councillors representing the town.

In their report planning officers had looked at the issues and believed that placing stringent conditions on any approval to make sure it is only used as a Bed and Breakfast  – they again backed approving the application.

Tredegar Central and West councillor Steve Thomas appeared at the meeting to argue against the proposal.

Cllr Thomas pointed out that the police had also voiced concerns in a letter they had sent about the application.

Cllr Thomas said: “It shows that the police have great concern as do I and other local members that there is what I describe as a loophole where someone establishes one type of development and goes on to use it for a different one.”

Cllr Thomas acknowledged the updated planning report where officers had added conditions to make sure it was only used as a B&B, but he felt they would be “difficult to enforce.”


He wanted to see the system changed so developers bring forward plans for hostels or houses of multiple occupation (HMO’s) to be scrutinised properly – rather than just do it by change the use of a building.

Cllr Tommy Smith told the committee he wanted to see the job centre retained for “purposes such as offices.”

Cllr Derrick Bevan said: “I know the people of Tredegar, and they are up in arms over this.

“If we refuse this at least we cut out the possibility of anti-social behaviour.”

Cllr Bernard Willis added: “It would be a very bad move for the people of Tredegar if it was granted particularly now we’ve had a police report which is damning on this subject.”

He put forward a vote to refuse the application to the committee.

Cllr Brian Thomas feared that Tredegar was going to be a dumping ground for “undesirables from other parts of Wales,” and said he would be against the proposal.

But other councillors were more cautious.

Cllr John Hill believed that the police’s consultation response wasn’t “enough” of a reason to refuse the application.

He feared their letter would not be considered in any appeal as it’s not a planning reason.

Cllr Wayne Hodgins wanted a further deferral to allow the council’s community safety officers to report on the issues in the area., so that the committee: “knows exactly what’s going on.”

Planning services development manager Steve Smith warned the councillors that there was a “real risk” that costs would be awarded against the council if an appeal was lost.

A vote was then taken, and 12 councillors rejected the application and one abstained.