A former Powys workhouse and hospital is set to be transformed into near Net Zero social housing development.

The Grade II listed former Victorian workhouse and hospital, Plas Maldwyn – a nearly 200-year-old complex at Caersws – is undergoing a transformation into a near net zero social housing development, one of a few such listed buildings in the UK.

Work is underway transforming the site near Newtown into a sustainable social housing development with one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Newtown-based Hughes Architects has undertaken the Listed Building planning and design work on behalf of the building’s owner, Barcud, a major housing association in Mid and West Wales, with construction work being undertaken by Mid Wales Property.


Doug Hughes, Principal Architect and Managing Director of Hughes Architects, has been working on projects at the site for more than 15 years, having worked with the previous owner.

“It’s great to see such an important listed building as Plas Maldwyn being brought firmly into the 21st century while protecting its architectural structure and assets,” said Mr Hughes.

“Throughout our work on the building we’ve paid particular attention to ensuring its rich architectural heritage has been conserved and incorporated into design work that has brought the complex into residential use.

“The use of modern sustainable technologies such as ground source heat pumps, recycled newspaper insulation, and underfloor heating, is quite unique in a building of its age. We have brought all these technologies into the design to a heritage asset standard.

“We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved so far and this latest work will ensure it’s fit for purpose for the next 200 years.”

Listed building consent has been approved for the replacement of 390 windows and the project will incorporate modern sustainable technologies such as ground source heat pumps, recycled newspaper insulation, underfloor heating, and triple-glazed windows.

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The original architect of the building, first opened in 1840, was Thomas Penson. He designed many buildings in the area in the 1800s, including the former workhouse at Llanfyllin, St David’s Church in Newtown, Montgomery Goal, Montgomery Town Hall and Newtown Flannel Exchange.

Coincidentally, Hughes Architects is working for the owner of St David’s Church on another project.

“As a conservation architect I feel privileged to be working on two projects originally inspired by Thomas Penson who was a well known architect in Montgomeryshire and the border areas, with much of his work still standing proudly today,” added Mr Hughes.