Barry’s mayor has said the town is becoming “good to live in, but you can hardly work here”.

Plaid Cymru councillor Nic Hodges has said Barry is becoming a ‘dormitory’ for Cardiff and has raised concerns that the town is struggling to attract new businesses with a lack of office space.

He expressed these concerns as the Vale of Glamorgan council’s planning committee last Thursday approved 32 new affordable homes in a former office block in the centre of Barry.

Councillor Hodges told the committee the loss of office space is making Barry “a place that is good to live in” but where they are “hardly able to work”.

Speaking this week, councillor Hodges said more needs to be done to attract new businesses to the area.

He said: “I understand the need for affordable housing, but it seems odd we’re not investing or keeping office space in this town.

“These are opportunities for businesses to start or expand into and we’re losing these opportunities left, right and centre. We need the opportunities to work in our own town.

“Unless we can get more people working in our town we won’t get the services we want – we won’t get the big chain stores coming in.”

“We’re becoming known as a dormitory town and that’s a shame.”

Councillor Hodges said schemes such as the Shop Local Campaign, sponsored by Barry Town Council, has helped retailers by holding more events in the town.

He added: “My concern is that retail only provides so many jobs. We need those office jobs.

“When buildings are being flogged off and converted into housing these opportunities are gone.”

Councillor Hodges, along with fellow Plaid Cymru councillor Ian Johnson, had voted to defer the decision on the redevelopment of Provincial House in Kendrick Road – which was also opposed by Barry Town Council – but were defeated in the vote.

They said more effort needed to be made to see if the property could be re-let as offices to provide jobs to the area, while concerns were also made about over-development of the site and car parking – with 15 spaces planned.

Councillor Johnson said the potential of Provincial House, left empty after the Vale of Glamorgan Council moved out in August 2017, to be re-let as offices needed to be investigated further.

“There should be a proper analysis of the office space required,” he said.

“I don’t accept that the only solution to anything is that we need to make houses out of it.”

But Jon Hurley, director of planning consultants WYG, representing applicants Hafod Housing Association and SGR Estates, told the meeting the new development would provide much-needed affordable accommodation to the area.

He said Barry has 1,500 people on social housing waiting lists, and there is an annual need of 595 new homes to satisfy this demand.

“It represents a good opportunity to provide new affordable housing in such a central and sustainable location,” Mr Hurley said.

Marcus Goldsworthy, head of planning at Vale of Glamorgan Council, told councillor Johnson there is a need for affordable housing in the area and there is office space available in Barry.

He said: “This is a location that would not be ideal if you are looking for office space. It’s set back on a mainly residential street, it is backing onto a park so in many ways it is better suited to residential accommodation than to office accommodation.

“I have to come back to the over-arching need for affordable housing in the area.”