A SECOND bite of the cherry has proved successful for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) after plans for a "world class" inpatient mental health unit and multi-storey car park at Glan Clwyd Hospital were approved.

The new fit for purpose unit, which could cost up to £84.5m [up to £80million from Welsh Government] and will benefit from 59 patient-beds in four new inpatient wards, was given the green light by Denbighshire County Council's Planning Committee today (Wednesday, November 8).

The unit will be built on an area currently used for parking to the west of the site (known as Carpark 5), to the rear of the existing Pathology Department and Mortuary.

The development will replace the hospital’s Ablett Unit and the older people’s mental health inpatient facility at Bryn Hesketh, Colwyn Bay.

Speaking at the planning meeting and highlighting the "critical need" for the development, Peter Campbell, agent for the application on behalf of BCUHB, said: "An earlier version of proposals for a replacement mental health unit and multi-storey car park was refused back in 2021 in a planning committee. This was due to concerns at the time relating to residential amenity, specifically the proximately of the proposed building to the neighbouring dwellings and the estate to the South. 

"Over the past two years, we have worked with the council officers to compressively address these issues. A completely redesigned scheme is now presented using a different location, well away from any neighbouring properties. 

"The existing Ablett Unit at the site is well beyond its viable lifespan as a care facility. 

"This project represents a flagship scheme for mental health care in North Wales which planning approval would help realise an investment of up to £80million from Welsh Government.

"The replacement facility would provide 'best in class' specialist inpatient wards alongside supporting treatments, rehabilitation facilities within a greatly superior environment."

In 2021, an application for Outline Planning Permission to build a replacement for the Ablett unit at Glan Clwyd on a site to the South-West of the hospital’s ground was refused; residents of properties on adjacent Ffordd Parc y Castell in Bodelwyddan successfully argued the two and three storey building would affect their privacy and visual amenity.

The new mental health unit plans include a landscaped courtyard and external garden spaces to provide a safe and secure outdoor amenity space for patients.

Internally the mental health unit would benefit from patient accommodation and complementary support facilities including therapy rooms, social spaces, gym rooms, visitor facilities, reception space with café and a staff administration floor. 

The unit would provide a total of 59 patient beds in four new inpatient wards: Two Adult Acute Wards and two Older Persons Wards. 

A total of 13 patient beds from the Older People’s Mental Health inpatient services at Bryn Hesketh facility at Colwyn Bay would also be incorporated into the unit to consolidate the mental health service provision at the one site.


Replacement car parking proposals will result in increased parking provision and 25 electric vehicle charging spaces.

Jon Harland, of the Green party, was the only councillor to object to proposals. He felt no further expansion of the hospital should be allowed due to the hospital's "isolated" location.

He said the site was "miles away" from where most of the population of Denbighshire live.

The plans were approved - 18 voted 'for' and one voted against. 

Teresa Owen, BCUHB’s lead executive director for mental health, said: “I am delighted we have received approval from Denbighshire county council’s planning committee for this vital facility, which will assist us in giving excellent care.

“We will now work closely with Denbighshire council, local partners, the public and Welsh Government to try and take this development forward at the earliest opportunity.”