LIDL withdraws contentious plans for Mumbles Road supermarket

LIDL has withdrawn contentious plans for a supermarket on Swansea’s Mumbles Road.

The discount retailer said it had it shelved its proposal for the former Halfway Garage, Blackpill, due to delays in the planning process affecting an arrangement it had with the landowner. Swansea Council said the authority was not to blame.

Lidl submitted its application to the council for the one-acre site in October 2021. A 60-space car park was proposed, according to a transport assessment, along with cycle stands. An extended turn lane was planned for drivers turning right into the car park from Mumbles Road.

Ground levels at the site were to be raised to mitigate flood risk, and a pair of adjacent semi-detached houses demolished to make way for the development.

Council planning officers had previously told Lidl it would need to justify the need for and impact of the planned supermarket because it was a “significant retail development” well away from any district shopping centre. Consultants on behalf of Lidl said Swansea West and Gower were not well served in terms of food stores, and that suitable alternative sites hadn’t been found.

The application generated a big public response, with 171 objections and 56 expressions of support.

One objector said in an email to the planning department: “The garage which previously occupied the site did not have anything like the volume of traffic a supermarket will attract. It also had two separate entrances for entering and exiting.”

A supporter said: “Would be amazing to have a supermarket close by instead of having to add to the traffic and pollution going into central Swansea every time I need to do a food shop. Think it would also be great to see a piece of derelict land turned into something useful for local residents.”

An objector said businesses in Mumbles would suffer because congestion on Mumbles Road would worsen. “It should definitely not go ahead unless the local authority is happy to see Mumbles become a run-down ghost town.”

Confirming its decision to withdraw the application, Lidl said it had a conditional offer in place with the owner of the site which was subject to planning permission being granted, but that this contract had expired due to planning delays. It said it was still looking for suitable sites in the area. Lidl’s nearest store is in Parc Tawe, three miles from Blackpill.

A council spokesman said there had been no delay in the planning process in terms of the council’s role to determine the application.

“In order for the council to give proper consideration to major development proposals such as this, applicants need to provide adequate supporting documents which relate to how the proposed development will impact on its location and relates to transport, air pollution, ecology as well as green infrastructure and flooding consequences,” he said.

“The applicant was asked a number of times to provide this information and failed to do so. As a result, they have notified the council they wish to withdraw the application.”

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