Monday, 4 June 2018

Call for quality housing for our town centre

Tonight's planning committee was split down the middle on a contentious plan to turn office space into a block of flats in one of the town centre's most historic streets.

The first item on the agenda was a plan to turn upstairs  space on King Street into a block of five flats while retaining a retail space on the ground floor. The Coleg Cambria end of King Street is within the Conservation Area.

Councillor Marc Jones, who represents the Grosvenor ward which includes King Street, said he was supportive of town centre living generally but stressed that it had to be done in the right way and to ensure quality housing:
"If we get this wrong we will be storing up problems for the future."
He explained that the property would be extended, losing one of two parking spaces, and the five flats could accommodate 10 people.

Cllr Jones added:
"The tenants will not have any parking facilities as the single parking space will be alloted to the retail unit. So if the landlord calls, if tradespeople need to carry out work there will not be anywhere for them to park. The only options will be to park on neighbouring office spaces or the adjoining streets of Rhosddu, which are already full to bursting.
"We're told this is a sustainable location in the heart of town but the truth is that anyone needing to get to work cannot rely on the bus services. We've seen a 20% drop in bus services in the past couple of years and our public transport system isn't working as it should."
Cllr Jones also explained that the tenants would have no amenity space - with just about enough room for five bins (one per flat) and an alleyway in which they'd be expected to dry their clothes and store any bicycles.

The officer recommendation was to allow but Cllr Jones moved to refuse on the grounds of lack of amenity. The planning committee was split down the middle - voting 5-5. The chair therefore used his casting vote in favour of the application.

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