MEASURES must be put in place to make sure historic buildings do not "fall into ruin", a Gwent AM has said, after plans to convert a 17th century mansion in Monmouth into flats were thrown out.

In February 2018 Monmouthshire County Council granted planning permission for the Grade II-listed Troy House in Monmouth to be converted into 19 flats - with another 31 in two new purpose-built wings.

But the decision was referred to the Welsh Government - and has now been overturned over concerns around potential flooding at the site - which is on a flood plain.

Speaking in the Assembly this week, Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay said he was concerned this decision meant the 17th century mansion, which has previously been a hospital and a school, but has laid empty for the past 30 years or so, would be left to "fall into ruin".

"It's been in a poor state of decline for many years," he said. "It's been a hospital at different points in time, it's been a school, and it's currently empty.

"Monmouthshire County Council approved planning permission to save the building and convert it into flats, but the decision has been overturned by the Welsh Government inspector on the grounds of it being on a flood plain."

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(Nick Ramsay)

Addressing first minister Mark Drakeford, the Conservative AM added: "If you've got a situation where you've got a Grade II-listed building that is declining each year, in a serious state of disrepair, and there is a plan of some sort on the table to try and restore that building, then there's obviously great concern when the Welsh Government says that that can't go ahead.

"What can you do? What safeguards can you put into the planning process to make sure that, when issues like this are overturned by the Welsh Government, there is protection in place to make sure that a listed building isn't simply allowed to fall into ruin and be lost to the nation?"

Replying, Mr Drakeford said the rules around planning appeals would be reviewed to take into account Mr Ramsay's concerns.

The planning inspector's decision notice said: "On balance the inspector concludes the statutory requirement to have special regard to the desirability of preserving the listed building is outweighed by the identified harm in respect of flooding and the location of the development in the open countryside.

"The potential harm to the registered historic garden adds further weight against the proposal."