PLANS to convert one of Radnorshire’s most historically significant buildings into homes and a holiday let have been refused.

Proposals for the Pencerrig Gardens Hotel, near Builth Wells, were rejected by Powys County Council (PCC) planners on Monday (October 16).

Pencerrig boasts a rich history. It was once the home of notable 18th century Welsh landscape painter Thomas Jones, born in Llandrindod Wells. Later, Clara Thomas, at one point believed to have been the richest woman in Wales, called it home.

After being sold in the 1950s, it became a trekking centre then a hotel, before closing in 2008.


It has since fallen into a significant state of disrepair and been left abandoned.

But a new attempt to convert the property into homes has been refused due to a lack of adequate information being submitted.

The application is the same lapsed application that was received 12 years ago.

The application, submitted to the local authority in November 2022, had asked for listed building consent for alterations in connection with converting the former hotel to four dwellings and one holiday let unit, together with the retention of works already carried out to two units.

A PCC built heritage officer had recommended refusal last month, saying: “It is not considered that sufficient information has been submitted with the application to fully assess the extent of the works proposed to the listed building and the impact on the registered historic park and garden.

“The proposal as submitted has not provided the local planning authority with an adequate Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) for the proposed works to enable a full assessment of the likely impact of their proposals on the special architectural or historic interest of the building and on its setting."

In February of this year, the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) also criticised plans, saying a photographic survey would need to be completed by a professional archaeological contractor.

After being submitted last November, local county councillor Gareth Jones called in the application a month later.

“The reasons for my request are the current owner of the property has allowed the building to fall into a significant state of disrepair, despite having been granted planning permission several years ago,” said Councillor Jones, who represents the Llanelwedd ward on PCC. 

“The building has a significant historic background, and we need to ensure that this is protected into the future.”

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The Pencerrig estate is located near Llanelwedd, just outside Builth, and just off the A470 road to Landrindod. It has been fenced off to the public for years but that has not stopped it falling foul of trespassers and vandals.

The dilapidated former hotel is now said to be in very poor condition, with a significant dry rot problem, a leaking roof, a number of structural issues, and is at risk of further vandalism. 

The trust looking after it believe urgent repair work is needed soon if this historic house and gardens are to survive.

The history of the Grade II-listed estate has recently been brought to life in a book, entitled ‘Pencerrig and Its Past Families’, written by Penelope Bourdillon and released last month.