FLATS and shops will be built at the site of a former superstore in Swansea, despite some of the new gardens facing a very high retaining wall.
The old Morriston Superstore at Rhodfa Fadog, Cwmrhydyceirw, will be demolished to make way for a new four-block scheme comprising 22 flats, seven houses and three retail units.
Swansea Council’s planning committee voted in favour of the application by Morganstone Ltd for by seven votes to one at a meeting on August 7.
Planning officer Ian Davies said the applicant had made changes to their previous scheme, which the committee and then a Welsh Government-appointed planning inspector had rejected.
The alterations included gabled roofs on the main three-storey block, instead of a flat roof, and the introduction of some Juliet balconies.
Mr Davies said some concerns remained about the new proposal, but that all the housing would be affordable.
“It is finely balanced,” he said. “However, it is considered that the provision of 100% affordable housing, coupled with positive changes to the scheme marginally outweigh the identified harm.”
Some of the gardens at the rear of the sloping site will face a retaining wall up to eaves height and will be just under the recommended 10m length.
“It is an issue that we have wrestled with,” said Mr Davies.
He said the scheme, according to the applicant, would no longer be viable if there was a reduction in the number of residential units.
There will be 33 spaces for residents, and 15 spaces – including three disabled ones – for the retail units.
Planning agent Geraint John, on behalf of Morganstone, said the current scheme had 11 residential units less than the original one, and that no statutory consultees had objected.
Addressing the committee, ward councillor Ceri Evans said he backed some redevelopment at the site and was in favour of social housing.
“However, I cannot personally in good conscience support this application as it currently stands,” he said.
Cllr Evans said he didn’t think the two principal refusal reasons from the previous scheme had been overcome.
Affordable housing, he said, should not be used as a “loophole for inappropriate and substandard housing”.
Committee member Cllr Mary Jones said she shared this “loophole” concern and wanted to know who would be responsible for maintaining the retaining wall at the rear.
Cllr Mike Lewis said he backed the development, saying the site would otherwise be left as a “desolated piece of land”.
Cllr Linda Tyler-Lloyd was worried that occupants of the flats might “feel trapped” inside but noted the introduction of Juliet balconies.
The consent given by the committee is subject to 23 planning conditions.
Officers had recommended approval, saying in their report it was a close-run thing but that the “current proposal overcomes many of the issues identified in the previous appeal”.