MORE waterfront land at Swansea’s SA1 will make way for houses and flats after a new development was approved by the council’s planning committee.
Some councillors had significant concerns that only 29 parking spaces were being provided for eight houses and 35 flats, and three of the 11 committee members voted against the plans.
Cllr Mary Jones said having only one disabled space for a development by a social housing provider – in this instance Pobl Group – was “a joke”. Council planning officers and an agent on behalf of Pobl Group said the Langdon Road scheme was close to local shops, services and bus stops.
The scheme, which will sit alongside the Harbour Quay apartment block and face the Prince of Wales Dock, already had outline planning approval when a detailed application came up before the committee in March. Councillors deferred a decision at that time to allow for a site visit and further consideration of road and parking issues.
The council’s highways department did not object to the subsequent revised scheme despite council parking guidelines indicating that the starting position should be 82 spaces, with 60 spaces then cited as a requirement. The committee was told that the guidelines were from 2012 and that subsequent planning policies which sought to reduce parking in urban areas took precedence. A report before the committee also said car ownership among people in social housing was traditionally lower than other types of occupiers.
Speaking at the meeting, objector Tracey Thomas said the shortage of parking, including an absence of visitor parking, would cause friction among future occupiers of the houses and flats.
“The obvious solution would be to reduce the scale of development so it can meet Swansea Council parking standards,” she said. In her view, the commercial interests of the applicant were being put ahead of occupiers’ quality of life.
A statement read out on behalf of ward councillor Sam Bennett said other housing developments in SA1 had fewer parking spaces than they should have under the council’s parking guidelines and that the cumulative impact of this should be considered.
Planning agent Laura Fower, on behalf of Pobl Group, said the houses and flats, which will be for social rent, would be high quality and make a valuable contribution to housing needs. “This development is considered to be wholly policy compliant,” she said.
The houses and flats will have a communal courtyard, 20 bike spaces – and visitors arriving by car would need to use a car park further along Langdon Road by the Norwegian Church. Most of the vacant land next to the development plot is set aside for a park.
Cllr Peter Black, who voted against the application, said the council needed to update its parking guidelines to bring them up to speed with more recent planning policies.