COUNCILLORS have criticised plans to turn an old library on the Herefordshire border into holiday lets.

Hay-on-Wye's town council said a lack of affordable housing was driving people away, with the planning inspectorate previously throwing out plans for the old library in Chancery Lane.

Mr Gorodkin applied to the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority to turn the building into four holiday lets in February, but planning inspector Joanne Burston raised concerns over the development adding to the ongoing issues of phosphates in the river Wye.

She dismissed the appeal, which was lodged by Mr Gorodkin as the national park authority had not made a decision within the set period, and said habitats regulations had to be adhered to.

But Mr Gorodkin has resubmitted plans for the single-storey former library, built in the 1970s, with added detail on how the issue of phosphates would be managed.

Consultants working on the scheme said a rainwater harvesting system would be installed on the roof, meaning it could be used for toilets, clothes washing and for the garden.

As well as that, work outside would mean more water could be absorbed into the ground as opposed to being drained to the combined sewer.

Consultants said this would reduce the volume of wastewater entering the sewer, and mean fewer phosphates actually enter the system.

But Hay Town Council said it wanted to “voice significant concerns” about the plans, mainly surrounding the lack of affordable housing in the town.

Hay's Town Plan, adopted in 2015 by the town council and national park authority, set out how the town was already above the national average in terms of holiday lets and second homes.

The town council said the situation had “worsened” since then.

“The lack of affordable (as in reasonably priced) housing in Hay is driving people away,” it said in its comments to planners.

“Similarly, the lack of reasonably priced rented accommodation.”

It added: “The Town Plan outlines town councillors’ and residents' concerns that too many properties in Hay are either too expensive, or being used as second homes and often left empty.

“People buying property for holiday lets is becoming an ever increasing problem.”

The council said that the Welsh Government's report, "Second Homes - Developing New Policies for Wales", pointed out that at the beginning of 2020, it was estimated that there would be 24,423 second homes in Wales – 1,313 of them in Powys.

But the council said that total did not include holiday units, of different types, which were registered for non-domestic rates.

“The town council also notes that an appeal by the applicant for this planning application it its first instance was refused by the Planning Inspectorate,” it said.

In a design and access statement, Mr Gorodkin said he wanted to regenerate the building by converting it to holiday lets.

Plans showed he still wanted to create an energy-efficient Passivhaus ‘Enerphit’ building which would use very little energy for heating and cooling.

The plans showed the site would be split into four units, with internal non-load-bearing walls demolished.

There would be more roof and floor insulation and replacement windows and doors are planned, as well as seven new window openings, a new glazed porch and external steps.