Plans for a Costa Coffee drive-thru on former Gateway to Wales backed for approval
Plans to build a Costa Coffee drive-thru on the site of a Deeside hotel which was ravaged by fire have been backed for approval after they were initially refused.
An application was resubmitted last year for the proposed redevelopment of the former Gateway to Wales Hotel site in Garden City.
Developers want to build a convenience store, drive-thru coffee shop and two food retail units on the site.
A fire tore through the 40-bedroom Gateway to Wales Hotel, which sits just off the A494, in December 2017, which completely gutted the building.
It stood in a derelict state for more than two years before the site was bought by Manchester-based developers Valedown Developments Ltd in March last year.
Following the hotel’s demolition, proposals were put forward to create retail units including a 1,808 square foot Costa Coffee shop, 63 onsite car parking spaces will also be built.
Permission for the scheme was rejected after both Flintshire Council’s highways department and the Welsh Government criticised the development firm’s analysis of the impact on traffic.
The application received a number of objections, mainly around the highway safety implications as a result of the proposed development.
Sealand Community Council objected to the proposals on the grounds that it would lead to potential road safety problems with its nearness to the traffic roundabout and bus stop.
The entrance to the site is the same as that used by the former Gateway to Wales Hotel, however, “there is now more traffic using this roundabout than in the past.”
“The expanding local developments including the new Amazon distribution centre, the significant new housing developments will add further to these traffic flows.”
“The proposed development potentially may cause traffic queues that could prove a danger to traffic leaving the dual carriageway to enter Welsh Road.”
“The Council urges that consideration should be given to improving the current entrance and exit for the proposed site if this development is to go ahead.” The council said.
Sealand Councillor Christine Jones raised concerns around access arrangements and “the threat of highway safety.”
New plans submitted to Flintshire council planners include an updated Transport Statement.
The document notes that the ‘residual trip generation’ shows the proposed development is anticipated to generate an additional 59 trips in the AM peak and 122 new trips in the PM peak.
The document states, “a high proportion of these trips will already be on the local highway network.”
In a report, the council’s chief planning officer Andrew Farrow said: “I am mindful of a recent appeal decision of McDonald’s, Lloc whereby the Inspector on allowing the appeal noted that there is limited provision of roadside facilities along the A55.
Mr Farrow said: “The Inspector therefore considered the level of service areas along the A55 to serve HGVs, tourists and other motorists to be low and lacks the quality of facilities that is required on such a popular, and busy route which experiences large fluctuations of traffic throughout the year and especially during the holiday periods, with ‘staycations’ becoming an increasingly popular holiday choice.”
Mr Farrow said: The proposed development will utilise the existing access off Welsh Road, which previously served the 40 bed Hotel.”
“This application is now supported by further traffic assessments which factor in existing and committed new development within the immediate and surrounding area.”
“A Junction Capacity Assessment has also been undertaken which analyses the A494 slip road junction onto Welsh Road.”
“The modelling results demonstrate that the proposed site access will operate comfortably within the capacity during AM and PM peaks.”
Concluding Mr Farrow said: “The proposal would see the refurbishment of an existing site within the settlement boundary of Garden City; a sustainable location which is supported by both national and local policies.”
“The proposed refurbishment should be recognised as a valuable new investment within the local area, securing the provision of a greater range of local services and the creation of further employment opportunities; as well as bringing an underused site back into beneficial use; continuing to meet the everyday needs of the community and supporting local economic growth.”
“It is considered that the proposal complies with planning policy.”
“Accordingly, I recommend that planning permission is granted.”
Councillors will decide on the application at a planning committee meeting being held on March 2.
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