PLANS for the potential upgrades to the Chepstow Drill Hall have been unanimously approved by Monmouthshire County Council (MCC).

The council’s planning committee approved the changes which will be made if the hall is successful in its bid for a Big Lottery Fund grant of up to £1.15 million.

The changes include the internal rearrangement of the hall and an external extension to create around 130 extra square meters which is mostly to provide additional functional space such as toilet facilities, a new reception area and circulation space.

The plans had received objections about the effect they may have on the car park and the residents who currently use the car park for residential parking, but these were not enough to reject the proposal.

Philip Thomas, MCC’s development services manager told the committee that it was rare to be able to upgrade an asset as good as the drill hall.

He said: “They key objections have related to loss of parking in the area and as a result this will lead to even more traffic in the area. The simple answer is, it is as sustainable location you can find. Where else are you going to provide these sort of facilities if you don’t provide them here?

“There are hundreds and hundreds of parking spaces in the public car parks in the town that you could walk from to get to this facility.

“We think despite the concerns from local residents, which we sympathise with, that’s really a matter for traffic management and enforcement in the area.”

The local councillor Jez Becker raised the concerns that had been made by residents but was satisfied that they had been addressed.

He said: “In terms of the parking, that is going to get more stressed over time with the introduction of a £1 all day parking charge. However, it is colour again, it’s not really relevant to this planning application as we are not losing spaces.”

The decision on the Big Lottery Fund’s grant will be announced on Thursday 15th February.