Empty storerooms above a Grade Two listed village snooker hall have been transformed into a stylish two-bedroom flat thanks to a grant aimed at easing the housing crisis in Conwy.
Even the clicking of the balls is masked by sound-proofing at the property above Llansannan’s Y Ddarllenfa – the reading rooms – where the villagers have for many years played on the two snooker tables.
It is part of a terrace of Georgian cottages known as ‘The Exchange’ with Y Ddarllenfa in the middle, all donated to the village by Lady Diana Wynne Yorke of the Dyffryn Aled estate in the 19th century.
The flat is now let to local man Dylan Roberts through the HAWS lettings agency, a partnership between local housing association, Cartrefi Conwy, and Conwy County Borough Council.
The Trustees of the Llansannan Institute took advantage of £50,000 available in grants and loans through Conwy Council’s Empty Homes Scheme to transform the unused space above the snooker hall.
Conwy Council’s Empty Homes Officer, Jeremy Grant, explained: “Through funding provided by Welsh Government, the council is able to provide loans of up to £25,000, per housing unit, in order to bring long term empty homes back into use, or convert non-residential buildings into new homes”.
Eifion Jones, Secretary to the Trustees, who have run the building since 1932, said: “This couldn’t have worked out better for us because, once the loan has been repaid, the rental income can be used in full for the upkeep of the building to the benefit of the local community.
“The snooker tables have been here for years but originally it was given as reading rooms for the village and it has been used as a doctor’s surgery at one time.
”As long as we have a tenant then we can secure the future of the building.”
Dylan, 35, a design engineer who works in Bangor, said: “It’s a lovely flat and ideal for me because I’m from Llansannan and have friends and family here.
“I was living in Abergele before but this is much better although it took me a while to get used to the cockerel next door who seemed to start crowing about three metres away from my bed.”
Lynsey Blackford, Conwy Council Private Sector Housing Officer who works with HAWS, said: “This is an excellent example of how this scheme can work. We do have a shortage of private rented property in Conwy and we can help people to bring unused properties back onto the market.
“HAWS are Rent Smart Wales registered so we can deal with all aspects of the property management, from arranging the tenancy to collecting the rent and organising repairs.”
“We hope it will encourage others in Conwy who have unused properties to take advantage of the loans available through Conwy Council.”