Posted: Wed 3rd Mar 2021

Plans to convert former bank in Buckley into apartments approved despite parking concerns

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 3rd, 2021

Plans to convert the former Lloyds Bank building in Buckley into apartments have been approved, despite concerns over parking arrangements.

The branch was the last remaining bank in the town before it was closed in early 2019 due to a reduction in people carrying out transactions in-store.

An application was put forward by real estate firm Four Square NW Ltd in August last year to change the use of the building, which was constructed in 1893, by creating six apartments.

A virtual meeting of Flintshire Council’s planning committee was held today (Wednesday, 3 March) to discuss the proposals, which were recommended for approval by officers.

However, local councillors raised objections over the loss of retail space and the developers’ failure to provide any parking spaces.

Buckley Bistre East councillor Richard Jones said: “I’m just going to concentrate on the issue that I think is one of the main issues here, which is the parking issue.

“There’s an admission within the development that it provides no on or off-site parking provision in association with the proposal.

“This would be one of very few, if any, that I can remember that’s had no parking provided at all.

“It’s pointless saying there’s going to be no vehicles and therefore there’s no issue.

“There is an issue and we’re setting ourselves up to fail with this.”

In a report to councillors, the local authority’s chief planning officer praised the fact that the scheme would bring a key building back into use.

Andrew Farrow said a requirement for parking was not necessary due to the town centre location.

His views were supported by Cllr Chris Bithell, cabinet member for planning, who said people’s habits had changed and there was no longer a need for the property to be used as a bank or shop.

He said: “Whilst we may all sympathise with the views that have been expressed by members in relation to the loss of retail business use within our town centres, we have to accept and recognise that this is happening not only in Buckley, but in every one of our town centres.

“The way people shop and the way that people bank has changed dramatically, and the results of COVID-19 and the pandemic will exacerbate it and it will occur on a much faster basis.

“We need to recognise the building has been empty for nearly three years. Where has the interest been?
“One would have thought that people would be queuing up to take over this building in such a prominent position for retail use or for business use, but it hasn’t happened.

“In terms of future occupants of one of these flats, if parking is an issue for them then they simply won’t rent that particular property.”

An attempt to have the proposals rejected was defeated by nine votes to five, meaning the application was approved.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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