Posted: Thu 31st Mar 2022

Costa drive-thru plans for Gateway to Wales hotel site refused again

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 31st, 2022

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Plans to build a Costa Coffee drive-thru on the site of a hotel in Flintshire which was destroyed by fire have been refused for a second time.

It follows concerns that the application to transform the former Gateway to Wales hotel site in Garden City would cause significant traffic problems.

Proposals to create a coffee shop, convenience store and two food retail outlets just off the A494 were originally rejected by councillors in March last year.

The scheme was later resubmitted by developers Valedown Developments Ltd and backed for approval by officials from Flintshire Council ahead of a planning committee meeting held yesterday (Wednesday, 30 March).

However, politicians said issues surrounding the impact on traffic had not been addressed, despite the company providing an assessment which said the plans would not cause problems on surrounding roads.

Local councillor Christine Jones said: “I’ve still got great concerns about the access onto that site, including the parking of HGVs and the turning of HGVs coming in and out.

“Also, when I look at the hours of opening, they say deliveries will be before 7am and after 11pm.

“That’s quite a strain for the residents who live nearby that they’re going to be having deliveries at about 6am and midnight, so I don’t find that acceptable either.

“My concerns have not been addressed at all because they can’t be. You can’t move the roundabout and you can’t stop traffic coming off the A494.

“It’s an extremely busy area and it’s going to be even busier with all the construction traffic now going through from all the new developments.”

The proposals were initially meant to be considered by the committee last month, but members deferred their decision to seek clarity on traffic and delivery arrangements to the site off Welsh Road.

The land has been disused since a fire tore through the Gateway to Wales hotel in December 2017, leaving the building completely gutted.

The 40-bedroom hotel was later knocked down after being bought by the Manchester-based company behind the redevelopment proposals in 2020.

A statement read out on behalf of Valedown Developments said the scheme would bring the site back into positive use.

It said: “The new development will be a notable stop-off point for passing traffic on the North Wales Expressway, which in turn will likely provide additional footfall to neighbouring businesses.

“Each facility will generate employment in the local area, which will be of great benefit to the local community.

“The design and appearance of the new units will help to enhance the appearance of this key site on the main arterial entrance to the town.”

It was revealed for the first time at Wednesday’s meeting that one of the new units was set to become a Spar supermarket, replacing an existing store nearby.

The developers said the proposals would help to reduce the impact on traffic as deliveries would be carried out on the site, rather than on the main road.

But Buckley Pentrobin councillor Mike Peers said concerns over a lack of parking spaces for delivery lorries had not been addressed and called for the scheme to be rejected.

Cllr Chris Bithell, cabinet member for planning, added: “My concern is in relation to the drive-thru coffee development.

“When I look at the roundabout at Drome Corner, I can foresee traffic backing up onto the slip road and onto the A494.

“These are major concerns for me which have not been resolved.”

Permission for the proposals was refused by nine votes to three at the end of the debate.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter

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