AREAS earmarked for development along Swansea seafront won’t be spoiled by any “Benidorm-type” buildings, a senior councillor has said.
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies told a cross-party committee that he would like to see some more commercial venues – for example a fish restaurant – but without damaging in any way the look of the bay.
His comments came in the wake of a Labour decision to seek expressions of interest in five council-owned sites – the car park at the bottom of Sketty Lane, the Blackpill Lido, land at the skate ramp at West Cross, land at the Mumbles side of The West Cross Inn, and two of the tennis courts in Langland.
No decisions have been taken but no high-rise schemes will be considered – and the public are also being asked how they think the sites could be best used in future.
Addressing the scrutiny committee on this and other regeneration projects, Cllr Francis-Davies said: “Nobody wants to see the bay spoiled by a Benidorm-type development.
“I do believe we need some more commercial use of the bay but be conscious of it.
“We have a beautiful bay. More people are coming here and they want more facilities.
“I can imagine people sitting in a fish restaurant overlooking the bay.
“I’m sure nobody wanted the Bistrot Pierre development (in Mumbles) but it’s very successful and people like it.”
He added: “Some of the sites might be acceptable [for development], some might not. And we are not selling sites off.”
Conservative councillor Will Thomas, whose ward covers Langland, said it was frustrating not to have been consulted before the proposals were announced.
He added: “I personally feel we should have got advice from planners before the pin (prior information notices) notices went out.”
Cllr Thomas said he felt the two West Cross sites should not be built on.
“When you drive into Mumbles, part of the reason for visiting is enjoying the view,” he said.
“But I am not anti-development at all.”
Cllr Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, had a dig at Cllr Thomas’s public comments last Saturday describing the seafront proposals as a council “land grab”.
“How can you make a land grab for land you already own?” said the cabinet member.
He added that he hoped many residents would take part in the ongoing consultation but reckoned that most Facebook groups and petitions on proposals such as this “are not accurate”.
Liberal Democrat councillor Chris Holley said he felt the seafront needed more toilets and changing room facilities and asked if the committee could scrutinise the suggestions for each site once the current process is over and replies have been received.
“I don’t think this is the place to have debates about sites around the bay,” said Cllr Holley.
Photo Attribution: Diego Delso [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]