‘Too big’ Lidl sparks concerns in Swansea
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A new Lidl planned off Mumbles Road in Swansea is too big and would cause traffic problems, objectors have claimed.
More than 50 people attended a public meeting about the store proposed for Blackpill.
Concerns have also been raised about the development site being in a newly-classified flood plain – and therefore subject to new Wales-wide planning guidance coming into force in December – and the number of parking spaces.
Speaking after the meeting, Mumbles Road resident Andrew Morgan said: “Everybody felt it’s not the right location, and it’s significant over-development.”
Mr Morgan said a key issue was the potential impact of drivers turning right off a Mumbles Road filter lane into the store car park.
It would be the first of three turn-offs in quick succession for westbound traffic, the other two being Glyn Crescent and Derwen Fawr Road.
Lidl said it was working closely with Swansea Council on the application, including any congestions concerns.
The land in question used to be a Shell filling station, and Mr Morgan said he felt a small convenience store would be acceptable.
Lidl plans to demolish a pair of semi-detached houses – one of which is empty – to make way for the new development.
The planned store would be set back from the road and feature some timber and stone cladding and a green, or living, roof. It would have a 1,102 sq m ground floor sales area – plus a floor above it – 50 parking spaces and six bike spaces.
“We don’t need a big store,” said Mr Morgan.
He said some people will argue that residents living nearby would take fewer journeys into the city centre for their food shop if it was built.
Mr Morgan, whose house would adjoin one side of the development, said: “It’s just the scale of it is way too big.”
He said a new store would attract more people to the area which in turn, he claimed, could lead to more crime.
Mr Morgan also dismissed any suggestion that residents wouldn’t object if a Waitrose or Marks & Spencer food store was proposed there.
‘Adequate car parking’
Earlier in the year Lidl submitted a pre-application enquiry to Swansea Council about the store. Planning officers said they felt the overall layout appeared cramped and could adversely affect neighbouring properties.
They also said up to three times as many parking spaces ought to be provided for a store of that size, and that a “radical rethink” of the drainage strategy put forward by Lidl might be needed.
A retail assessment on behalf of Lidl said Swansea West and Gower were not well served by discount food stores. The retailer, which has five stores in the county, said it would review the council’s feedback.
Its full planning application has been accompanied by several reports, including a flood consequence assessment.
The assessment said reference had been made to the new flood-related planning policy coming into force in Wales next month.
The planned store, it said, would be raised slightly and a sutainable drainage sytem installed to deal with water run-off.
But a council drainage officer has responded to the flood assessment to say it was now out of date, and that the whole site was in a flood zone.
The officer said a new assessment was required which demonstrated there was no increase in risk to surrounding properties. He added that the drainage strategy submitted wasn’t considered acceptable.
A Lidl spokesman said the new store would, if given the go-ahead, be a multi-million pound investment which created jobs.
He added: “We would like to reassure local residents that we are working closely with Swansea Council on our application.
“This includes plans for adequate car parking and a transport assessment to address any congestion concerns.
“We are also in the process of updating our flood assessment to ensure compliance with the upcoming changes in guidance.”
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