A FORMER pharmacy in Brynmawr is set to become an accountants’ office.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday, January 6, councillors discussed a planning application, which was submitted by Julian Frost.

Mr Frost had applied to change the use of 44 Beaufort Street from a shop unit to one that can be used for “financial and professional services”.

Planning officers had recommended approving the application, despite it not conforming to policy.

Blaenau Gwent planning officer, Joanna White explained the application.

Ms White said: “This is situated on the corner of Beaufort and Davies Streets in Brynmawr, and it falls within the primary retail area.

“The last known use of the property was as a pharmacy.

“Planning permission is being sought to change the use of the property at ground floor, and the proposed use is an accountants.

“The first floor will remain as a flat.

“The opening hours proposed are 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.

“There are no objections received, but the proposal conflicts with policy which restricts use in the area to retail only”

Ms White explained that the building has been vacant for a number of years, which could be considered a material planning consideration.

Ms White said: “Planning Policy Wales specifies that, where economic decline is impacting on retail centres, the emphasis on retaining properties that have been vacant for some time may undermine the centre’s viability and vitality

“In such  circumstances we should consider how non-A1 (retail) uses may play a greater role to increase diversity and vacancy levels.

“There’s a very low percentage of vacant properties in Brynmawr and therefore the loss of one is unlikely to have a significant impact on the town centre.”

The recommendation of consent was approved unanimously by councillors.