A plan for a new Herefordshire centre for needy folks which provoked strong views both for and against has been approved.

Milly Boylan applied in January for planning permission to convert a former gym in Corpus Christi Lane to the rear of Gloucester Road, Ross-on-Wye, to become Warm Welcome, intended to provide a range of help for young parents, care leavers, forces veterans, those with health needs and the homeless.

Her application drew 42 messages of support welcoming the new facility, but also 16 objections. These focussed on potential problems of parking, access and deliveries along the single-track lane, but also raised concerns of people “hanging around” and smoking outside.


Ledbury town council did not comment on the proposal.

The council’s highways engineer H Rees did not see a problem with the road access, pointing out that the spot “is in a central location which can be accessed via the bus”.

Hereford Times: The former gym, now Warm Welcome centre in Ross-on-Wye, showing the narrow accessThe former gym, now Warm Welcome centre in Ross-on-Wye, showing the narrow access (Image: Google Street View)

There are “a number of public carparks and on-street parking which visitors using the centre will be able to make use of”, they added.

Planning officer Joshua Evans said he was treating the application as retrospective as the building was already being put to its new use.


This use does not increase car journeys to the building or compromise highway safety, he concluded.

And he pointed out that there was nothing to stop the building being used as a day nursery or a café under its existing permission, the impact of which would be not be dissimilar in noise and amenity terms.

Nonetheless, new restrictions were imposed to address neighbours’ concerns. It can only be used between 8am and 5pm weekdays, 9am-5pm on Saturdays, and not at all on Sundays, and holidays, while deliveries are restricted to between 10am and 4pm weekdays and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

Any new external lighting is tightly limited, while any signs would need a separate planning application. Only community and recreational uses are allowed in the building.