Objections to the Talbot Green new town proposal - extracts from the report to RCT planning committee Feb 28th.
Richard Ellis (CBRE) on behalf of John Lewis Plc wrote:
We do not consider that the application accords with the Council's LDP. In respect of the proposed size of the development the scheme seeks to provide a greater quantum of floorspace than allocated within the LDP. It thus represents an overdevelopment of the site;
The applicant's quantitative assessment relies on a 2008 study which we consider out-of-date.
Aberdare & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce say
Aberdare is a clear example of the danger of putting out-of-town developments close to an existing centre without regard to spending power in the area. The town has required millions of pounds spent on it in an attempt to regenerate it after the development of Tesco, Asda and Lidl.
We are in a period of no/very low growth which means that the demand and spending power is not there to support the development;
DPP (on behalf of House of Fraser). The objections raised are summarised below:
Whilst acknowledging the LDP allocation it is considered that there are material considerations in this case that tip the planning balance in favour of a refusal;
The application relies upon retail capacity information which dates back to November 2006 and no evidence base update has been carried out;
The retail analysis submitted by the applicant makes no attempt to update, what are now considered to be out-of-date expenditure growth rates, which is a serious shortcoming. PPW (Planning Policy wales) clearly indicates that current circumstances, such as the current adverse economic conditions, can represent material considerations.
The absence of an up-to-date examination of the likely retail impact in relation to Pontypridd should dictate a refusal of planning permission. The information submitted does not take into account the fact the 'Riverside Scheme' on the former Taff Vale site has been "abandoned" leaving Pontypridd open to an even greater impact of trade diversion to Talbot Green.
The figures given for the turnovers of existing centres (Tonypandy, Treorchy and Porth) are assigned as 'benchmark' turnovers, which it is considered are not robust and do not give an accurate picture.
'Health checks' undertaken by WYG include information that is now 3 years old. Up-to-date information in respect of vacancy rates should be required.
Pontyclun Community Council
The amended application appears to have little effort to seek to respond to the points of concern raised by the local community. This does not reflect well on the priorities of the developer or RCT and raises serious questions about the validity of the consultation process.
It is considered that the most significant threat to the community of Pontyclun is the potential impact of the proposed development on the viability and vibrancy of the village of Pontyclun.
The development does not look like a town centre it resembles an out of town shopping centre.
The author of the planning committee report - who recommends approval - states
Whilst the principle of a new town centre has been established in the LDP the proposed volume of floorspace exceeds the thresholds in policy SSA8 and cannot be said to be in full compliance with the allocation.