COMPLAINTS have been made that developers have begun work on converting Porthkerry Methodist Church into flats, even though planning permission is yet to be granted.

Neighbours of the Grade 2 listed building and designated County Treasure have noted that for several weeks developers Brownfield Green Ltd have been working in the building, ahead of the Vale council's planning meeting on Thursday, May 8.

Although planning permission is expected to be granted - the church is set to house six three-bedroom dwellings with a further four two-bedroom properties in the adjacent school building - residents of nearby streets were annoyed that developers seemed to be jumping the gun.

Debbie Saunders of Romilly Road noted that the developers were working in the church ahead of the planning meeting, meaning that representations were at this point merely a formality.

Among the issues pinpointed in the report due to go before the planning committee are concerns about parking on the already busy street and any potential impact on the character of the building.

Debbie, 51, said: "My neighbours and I are all shocked at how work can go ahead before the plans have even gone in front of the committee."

In response to these complaints, the council's Operational Manager for Development Control Marcus Goldsworthy said that officers had visited the site.

He said: “Following the receipt of a complaint that works were underway without planning permission or listed building consent Council officers have been monitoring the site.

"Officers have inspected the repair work being carried out on more than one occasion. After the initial visit, officers were satisfied that the majority of the operations would not have required the consent of the Council, however, they did advise the applicants to cease one aspect of the work.

"The applicants have now done so and it is understood that no further works have since been undertaken that would require the permission of the local authority. This situation will continue to be monitored to ensure that the developer does not breach the law in any way.”