Developer wins appeal over retail park planning conditions

An inspector has allowed a developer's appeal against a set of conditions attached to a planning permission granted for the revamp of a retail park in Swansea, south Wales, concluding that their variation would not put a nearby city centre regeneration scheme at risk.

Parc Tawe, Swansea (picture by Jaggery, Geograph)
Parc Tawe, Swansea (picture by Jaggery, Geograph)

Developer Hammerson, which was granted planning approval last year for plans to redevelop Swansea’s edge-of-centre Parc Tawe retail park, appealed against a series of conditions attached to the permission.

The conditions included a restriction on units being used for the sale of a list of specified comparison goods, a restriction on the size of individual retail units, and a condition preventing units from being sub-divided or further amalgamated without the prior approval of the local planning authority.

The conditions were imposed by the City and County of Swansea Council in order to "protect the vitality and viability of the city centre retail core and to ensure that the development does not undermine the council’s aspirations for the future comprehensive redevelopment and enhancement of the retail core at St David’s/Quadrant".

But the inclusion of the planning conditions sparked a row, with the developer expressing its disappointment at the council’s stance.

In a decision letter issued last week, inspector Sian Worden concluded that the disputed conditions are "not justified as necessary and that their variation … would not put at risk the comprehensive retail-led regeneration of the St David’s/Quadrant area or the retail core".

The inspector varied the conditions to permit a much wider range of comparison items and amended the condition preventing sub-division.

In a statement, City and County of Swansea Council said: "It’s pleasing that we managed to secure through the appeal process a significant degree of control over future operations at Parc Tawe. This will help protect future investment and regeneration proposals for the city centre’s main shopping area.

"We’re also pleased that the planning inspector chose to impose the planning conditions that were subject of the recent appeal, even though they’ve been amended and don’t have the full range of restrictions we feel are needed to safeguard the city centre.

"We now look forward to the developer transforming the site in accordance with the approved plans."

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