Plans to convert a former Georgian mansion in Pembrokeshire – once owned by a man who refused to be mayor of London – from a hotel to flats have been backed.

Christopher and Nicola Mason-Watts of Mason-Watts Properties Ltd were granted a listed building consent change of use for Grade II listed Castell Malgwyn, Llechryd, from a hotel and restaurant and self-contained flat to four residential dwellings.

The mansion – following a long history of different uses – became a hotel in 1962, most recently known as Hammet @ Castell Malgwyn, but has become unviable as such since the Covid pandemic, a report for planners said.

The report stated: “Castell Malgwyn was built c.1795 for the industrialist Sir Benjamin Hammet. The principal frontage of the mansion faces east and is of five bays and three storeys, under a hipped roof. The eastern frontage is also the principal framed view within the late C18 landscaped park, which is a Grade II* registered park and garden.”

The report for planners said the application was acceptable to secure long-term occupation, but said Pembrokeshire County Council’s landscape officer had expressed concerns over the sub-division of the property’s curtilage and the effect this may have on the setting of the registered park and garden.

It added: “According to the Supporting Planning Statement, the grounds will remain unchanged and will be maintained by a management company.

“This is acceptable in principle. However, removal of permitted development rights will be considered as a condition of the Planning Permission to prevent boundary enclosures being constructed.”

The application also included “the majority demolition of a c.1970 ballroom extension,” of “poor external design and materials”.

A heritage impact statement for planners detailed the history of the mansion.

“In 1797 Sir Benjamin Hammet was elected Lord Mayor of London but refused to serve on the grounds of ill health. The city crier was despatched to Castle Malgwyn to fetch him back to London.

“Refusing the honour once again in the city, Hammet’s excuses were not believed, and he was fined £1,000 for avoidance. Sir Benjamin Hammet died on July 22, 1800.”

The Georgian mansion has had many purposes over the years, including serving as a nursery immediately after the Second World War, having been requisitioned to house evacuee children.

In 1948 the building, having been converted into flats, was damaged by fire, later in 1962 being converted to a hotel.

After going through several owners and names, it was bought by the applicants in 2017, who changed its name back to the original Castell Malgwyn.