McDONALD’S would face a struggle to build a new restaurant on the outskirts of Swansea because it would compete with city centre regeneration proposals, planning officers have said.
The fast food giant wants to use some of the car park at Parc Fforestfach for a new venue, which would include a drive-through.
City planning officers said the council would be unlikely to recommend the scheme for approval, should McDonald’s choose to submit a full application.
Commenting on the company’s pre-application enquiry, officers said the proposal for the car park used by Tesco Extra customers could threaten the aims of policies which are designed to win back trade to the city centre.
The policies also seek to protect district shopping centres and deter retail parks from becoming “all-round destinations”.
In a written response to McDonald’s, officers said of the all-round destination scenario: “This presents one of the most significant threats to the viability of the Swansea Central area and regeneration proposals that seek to deliver a revitalised retail and leisure destination.”
The response also said the proposal would reduce parking at the retail park and, according to a highways officer, raise safety issues.
Officers conceded that drive-through restaurants were unsuited to city centres and some district centres, and may be located at retail parks instead.
But they said the McDonald’s scheme was, at 508 square metres, much bigger than the small-scale food and drink outlets potentially supported at retail parks via the county’s emerging local development plan.
They also pointed out that developers should exhaust city centre options before applying to build away from them, or provide convincing evidence that an out-of-town scheme should be justified as an exception.
The closest existing McDonad’s eateries to Fforestfach are at Cwmdu Retail Park and the Moto service station by junction 47 of the M4.
Although there is nothing to stopping McDonald’s submitting a full application for the car park at Parc Fforestfach, the council’s response concluded that, based on the information provided, the scheme “would be considered an inappropriate form of development”.