Plans for blocks of flats rejected

TWO blocks of flats proposed for a Swansea estate had a small paved area for drying laundry but no gardens, a planning inspector has said.

Vicki Hurst dismissed the appeal by housebuilder Morganstone Ltd for the 40-flat scheme in Cwmrhydyceirw after Swansea Council’s planning committee had initially rejected the scheme.

She said the “very small” paved area would be in the shade for most of the day and that the lack of private outdoor space for residents “would be severely deficient”.

Morganstone, which intended to transfer all the flats to a social housing landlord, said it was not necessary to provide private outdoor space in circumstances such as this.

But Ms Hurst said the proposal – comprising two three-storey buildings on land north of Rhodfa Fadog and the demolition of an existing building – went against the council’s local development plan.

She said the flats would dominate the surrounding area and appear “crowded and squeezed into the space available”.

But she said she acknowledged Morganstone’s arguments that the scheme included three ground floor retail units and was meant to be a “local centre”.

Ms Hurst also acknowledged that the area had a strong need for social housing, and said: “The existing site is in a poor visual state, and I note the contention that its current condition encourages anti-social behaviour.

“I concur with the view that its redevelopment would be beneficial in principle.”

But she said the benefits could be obtained from an “alternatively designed scheme”.

The council’s planning committee had gone against an officer recommendation of approval when they met to discuss the application.

There were 69 letters of objection from residents, who felt the development was poorly designed and that the area needed more facilities, not flats.

Some objectors were worried about its impact on two adjacent retail units, while another claimed social housing would “bring problems to a brilliant neighbourhood”.

Morganstone subsequently lodged an appeal in the form of a 174-page report from its agent, Geraint John Planning, which argued that the proposal complied with the development plan and ought to be approved.

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