‘Death threats’ Tory MP must rip out security from office as she didn’t get planning permission
A Conservative MP who received death threats must rip out new security windows and doors from her constituency office because she didn’t get planning permission.
Fay Jones, 37, the MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, in Wales, took advice from security officials in Parliament regarding “strengthening of accessible doors and windows” at her constituency office.
Ms Jones decided to fit the secure windows after the murder of two MPs and getting threats herself.
But planners say she failed to get permission in the Victorian spa town of Llandrindod Wells, Powys, to replace the front of her office with modern white uPVC, and it must be removed.
Planning officials said the building in the heritage town falls within the historical protected zone and ruled the modern plastic is wrong.
The MP lost the planning battle after appealing to keep the uPVC front of her office, and faces having to replace it again with traditional wood.
Ms Jones did not specify the cost of the replacement frontage but experienced shop fitters estimated it would be about £4,000 for uPVC, but in the region of £12k for custom-made double-glazed wooden shopfront.
Ms Jones said: “I would hate to close my office and force my staff to work from home because we are unable to find the right security measures.
“The planning application was made after recommendations by Parliament’s security and policing teams.
“Our options are limited as the Parliamentary security team have installed measures designed to protect the safety of those working in MPs’ offices.
“All too sadly the murder of two MPs and attacks upon offices, including here in Powys, in recent times has exemplified the need for secure premises.
“We have received a warm welcome since opening the office and hope that we can continue to make ourselves available to the people of the Llandrindod Wells area.”
Ms Jones was elected as the Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire at the 2019 general election
She applied for retrospective planning permission after already replacing the “rotting” door and windows with cheaper uPVC - but her bid was not supported by officials over the modern makeover at Leamington House.
The town council said: “Historically, other applications have been refused for this exact point.
“The council feels if this application is approved this will set a precedent for other applications within the conservation area.”
She submitted a letter from Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle in support of her claim and a second letter from the Members Security Support Service at Parliament.
However the letter made no specific mention of replacing wooden windows with plastic - instead recommending “strengthening of accessible doors and windows”.
Planning inspector Clive Sproule dismissed her appeal to keep the uPVC at the office in historic Temple Street in the spa town.
Mr Sproule said: “Temple Street, in common with other areas of the Conservation Area, typically has business premises and other buildings with wood-framed doors and windows.
‘Less damaging security options’
“I have considered whether there are public interest grounds that make an exceptional case for overriding the strong presumption against developments which damage the character or appearance of a conservation area.
“I have attached considerable importance to the need to protect the personal safety of politicians and their staff and I have had regard to the specific requirements of parliamentary security teams when vetting constituency offices.
“However, there is no tangible information to indicate that other less damaging security options have been properly explored.
“Neither is there any cogent evidence that timber replacement frames would provide significantly less security than uPVC.”
The 5,000-population town was a popular spa destination in the 19th century when the wealthy travelled to “take the waters” from the Welsh hills - and holds a Victorian Festival every year.
Ms Jones - whose father Gwilym was a Tory MP in Cardiff - won the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency from the Lib Dems with a 7,000 majority.