THE owners of an old pub on the Herefordshire border have been told by planners that it can make changes to the buildings.

The grade II-listed Old Bell in Hay-on-Wye's Bell Bank, formerly the Bell pub, can now have railings installed outside to help the people living there get up and down steps at the front door.

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority gave the plans the green light, with case officer Heather McDowell saying the design of the two symmetrical curved metal handrails either side of the five steps was acceptable.


Applying for listed building consent for the former pub, building in the early 18th century, Peter Alston said each side would be cemented at the bottom into the second and fourth stone steps.

The handrails would extend a little over the first and fifth steps, he said, but there would be space either side of the handrails at the top step to access the front windows and the path to the garden, and at the bottom to access the front garden.

The rails were be designed to match the existing front and side black metal gates and would have scroll ends, he said.


Mr Alston, of the Old Bell, said the objective behind the plan was health and safety.

"One of the occupants of the property has poor balance and a handrail is essential for safe access," he said.

"It is good practice for all steps to have a handrail particularly in poor weather."

He said he knew the house, between Hay car park and footpaths into the town centre, needed to remain attractive as it was a listed building in an historic area.