RESIDENTS told a council planning committee that they supported proposals to redevelop an adjacent university campus into a housing estate.
Two of them spoke broadly in favour of Pobl Goup’s plans to convert the Edwardian building at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Townhill campus, Swansea, into 62 flats.
Other buildings at the hillside site overlooking Swansea Bay will be demolished, paving the way for the construction of 98 houses.
Vehicle access will be from the north, via Townhill Road and Pantycelyn Road, while a footpath will link the site to Penlan Crescent to the south.
Nearby resident John Sayce said this footpath would enable future residents to get to Cwmdonkin Park and the surrounding Uplands area 15 minutes quicker than without it.
“There are a number of big advantages there,” he said.
But Mr Sayce, who also represents Swansea Bay cycle campaign group Wheelrights, said he would have liked bike and pedestrian access to the site via the adjacent Lon Cwmgwyn.
Another resident said she felt Pobl Group’s application “goes a long way” to addressing concerns that people in the area had. She said she was particularly pleased that woodland covering the southern half of the former campus would be retained.
But she felt the footpath to Penlan Crescent should close at dusk, and that houses planned to the south of the Edwardian building should have pitched rather than flat roofs.
Addressing the committee, Uplands councillors Nick Davies, Peter May and Irene Mann said they backed the development.
Cllr May said the campus proposals dated back to 2014, prior to a “wholesale” tree preservation order being applied by the council in 2016 following the actions of a “phantom tree chopper” at the site.
He said he would be wary of any access via Lon Cwmgwyn due to anti-social behaviour issues at an empty house – which was part of the campus – at the far end of the lane.
The planning committee approved Pobl Group’s application, which was an outline scheme for the 98 houses and detailed plans for the 62 flats, with the only objector Councillor Richard Lewis.
He said a planning condition insisting on sprinklers throughout the site should be inserted.
A planning officer said fire regulations would be covered by building control, but Cllr Lewis was not satisfied.
“If there is a risk we should alleviate that risk,” he said.
Pobl Group must contribute £140,000 towards improved cycling and pedestrian facilities on nearby roads, and 20% of the houses and flats will be low cost ownership or for social rent.
The council’s education department wanted contributions for Townhill primary and Dylan Thomas comprehensive schools but officers felt the £140,000 travel contribution, affordable housing provision and “abnormal” development costs made education contributions unjustified.
Planning agent Phil Baxter, on behalf of Pobl Group, said the applicant felt the scheme had been “well received” at a public engagement event.
He added: “Pobl see this as a flagship project.”