A CONTROVERSIAL plan to turn a historic hotel in the Wye Valley into homes can begin after Monmouthshire council granted permission to carry out the work in a conservation area.

Although the application to change the use of The Abbey Hotel in Tintern was approved last year, consent was needed to carry out the work and demolish part of the building. This has now been given, but with 23 conditions set out by planning officers.

The scheme, by applicant Huw Jones of Tintern Hotels Ltd, will see the 25-bedroom hotel, which is currently closed, converted into seven two and three bed homes and the modern extension demolished and replaced with four homes.

The site includes buildings that date from the early 1800s and overlooks Tintern Abbey.

The plan includes demolishing unsightly buildings while retaining significant buildings that date from the early 1800s and adding new extensions and two extra parking spaces. The scheme has been met with mixed reaction in the village and led to a 314-named petition being handed into the council calling for the hotel to be saved on the grounds that it lies within the historic abbey site, while one resident feels it is a sensitive and imaginative development for a non-viable hotel.

Concerns also include the appearance of the development, the lack of parking spaces and water mains beneath the allotments.

Landlord of The Anchor, Geoff Dawe, said the general feeling is that people want to see the boarded up building refurbished. He said: “It has become an eyesore.It is going to be better than what is there now,” he added.

Another trader, who did not wish to be named, said she would have liked the hotel to have stayed open.

“It’s a shame to see it go, it is in a lovely location for those visiting the area.”

Mr Jones was unavailable for comment but said in the planning application that the building has no future as a hotel, the scheme will mean the genuine buildings are preserved and allowed to be used for future generations and that the site is protected for years to come.