Plans to transform an historic building on Welshpool's canal wharf into shops and storage space have been given the go-ahead.

The proposal, which Powys County Council submitted to its own planners in April, is expected to see new retail space created at Y Llanfa/The Wharf, as well as at two nearby cottages thought to date to the 18th century.

Y Lanfa is located in the Grade II listed former Montgomeryshire Canal warehouse which now combines a library and museum.

The development could act as a focal point for the wider development of the canalside area. It will also see the condition of the cottages stabilised to allow for storage of museum items, and given office, meeting and retail space.

The plans have now been given the green light be Powys County Council, with an officer's report accompanying the decision which says: "The development does not have an unacceptable adverse impact on existing and established tourism assets and attractions.


"The proposed development involves the refurbishment, upgrade and extension of Y Lanfa which is a museum and commercial property within the development boundary of Welshpool.

"There is no specific planning policy for the conversion of dwellings. The applicant has confirmed that the cottages have not been used for C3 purposes for in excess of 10 years and therefore, this element of the application is retrospective. The cottages have been used for storage purposes in conjunction with the main Y Lanfa Building for this period and longer.

"In light of the above it is considered the principle of the proposed development fundamentally complies with the above planning policy subject to a review of material considerations."

In a statement accompanying the initial plans, planning agent Richard Lewis of Hughes Architects said: “It has come to the time when an ambitious, yet sensitive programme of refurbishment and renovation needs to be considered, not only to preserve these fine buildings, but also to ensure that there is flexibility in terms of usage.

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“The intention is to respect the original building language and celebrate the fact that the Lanfa building itself once enjoyed a very simple, unencumbered footprint.

“This programme of works now unpicks all of those previous interventions and ensures that these buildings can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

In October 2021, the council and Canal Restoration Trust were told that they would receive £13.937 million from the UK Levelling Up Fund towards the scheme.

The hope is that the project would open up navigation of the canal all the way to Newtown and “unlock and unfulfilled resource” in Powys, becoming a tourist attraction for boaters, walkers, and cyclists.

In 2020, Welshpool library was closed and moved into Powysland Museum, which was rebranded as Y Lanfa/The Wharf.