Work is to begin this month on the first phase of a controversial housing project in the heart of Frodsham. 

The Old Library development, located on High Street, is a conversion of the former library building into 14 luxury apartments with underground parking.

The plans were approved by the narrowest of margins – six votes to five – at a crunch Cheshire West and Chester Council planning committee meeting in May. 

Critics of the scheme included Frodsham Town Council, former Frodsham mayor Mallie Poulton and residents of the neighbouring Alexandra Mews.

Speaking at the planning committee meeting in May, Cllr Poulton said: “We are not against any development in the area, just this type of over-development. The scale, siting and design of this development will have an overbearing impact on neighbouring properties, significantly detrimental to the living conditions of the occupiers. There will be a loss of privacy in their gardens."

Addressing the committee members, he added: “Please ask the developers to go back to the drawing board. Frodsham is not asking, we are begging you.”

Fears were also raised over parking provision in the town centre, but the plans were voted through. 

The scheme is being developed by Library House Ltd and managed by HC Developments, part of The House Crowd group of crowdfunding companies. 

HC Developments said the development would be completed in three phases, with the first scheduled to begin in September. 

They promise to bring "luxury apartment living" to Frodsham town centre.

Prices will start from £115,000 and people can invest from as little as £1,000 and earn returns of 10-11% per annum, depending on the amount invested. The investment term is estimated to last for 15 months, and all investment is secured by a first legal charge against the property.

Frazer Fearnhead, CEO at The House Crowd, said: “There are very few properties available at this price point in Frodsham. The development’s superb town centre location, just a stone’s throw from local amenities and the M56, makes it a fantastic choice for residents looking for convenient and accessible living.

“Given these facts, we know that demand will be exceptionally high and we anticipate selling all apartments off plan in the next few months.”

The site started life as Rock Wesleyan Chapel, before being converted to a library, and is renowned for its attractive stained-glass windows. Award-winning architect Ollier Smurthwaite was appointed to work on the project and has preserved these original features. 

The two-storey building has been empty since 2013 when the library moved to Frodsham Leisure Centre.