The conversion of an Anglesey church into a home will go ahead despite the historic building being surrounded by graves on all four sides.

With some councillors questioning who would want to live in such an environment, planning committee members nonetheless approved the plans at Christ Church in Rhosybol, near Amlwch.

Having been shut since 1996, the community council and local members had opposed converting the 1875-built church due to fears it stands too close to existing gravestones, with the site being described as “unsuitable for development.”

But in a statement, applicant William Morris urged the committee to follow the advice of officers in approving the plans, which also include a vehicle turntable to allow easier entry and exit by car.

“I love this beautiful building and desperately want to retain its beauty for all, ” he wrote, saying he has already installed gutters and fixed the leaks in the roof.

“Having discussed the redevelopment with several neighbours and visitors to the cemetery, all feedback had been very positive.

“It was a great shock and very upsetting to hear that there were people who had concerns, I want to reassure everyone I am sympathetic to their concerns and in this refurbishment I seek the benefit of all.”

Adding that visitor access to the graveyard would be maintained and improved, he went on to say: “Although I understand why some would have concerns about a house in a graveyard, I myself am at peace with the idea.”

Mr Morris concluded, “The church has been derelict for over 20 years and believe it would be sad to prevent development and leave it as a derelict structure to eventually collapse.”

But Cllr Aled Morris Jones, a village resident one of the local members for the Twrcelyn ward, said there were “major concerns” in the community as the grave stones are so close to the building on all four sides.

“You have to question how someone can live in a church surrounded by graves,” he added.

“Respectfully I would suggest that this proposed development doesn’t reach design or highways criteria and can’t emphasise enough how close to the church some of these gravestones are located.

“I respect what the applicant has said, but I know he has suggested that some are in favour, but I would urge you to respect those that are buried there and bare in mind that we are adamant there are also unmarked graves in some sections.

“Those who have been laid to rest there should be left alone and their families shouldn’t have to worry.”

But after officers outlined there were no planning reasons to refuse – and despite some reservations – members unanimously voted to back the plans on the proviso that highways issues and details over the construction works are approved.