Plan for trio of shops in Ely is turned down
PLANS for new shops to be built in a Cardiff suburb have been rejected – to the huge relief of existing businesses.
An application went in front of councillors on Wednesday to demolish former pub The Caerau.
In its place, three shops would be built as well as 12 parking spaces at the junction of Heol Ebwy and Bishopston Road.
But members of the planning committee went against a recommendation from council officers to approve the plans.
Instead, they told officers to come back to them with legally-valid reasons to refuse the scheme.
While councillors said it was the size and scale of the proposed building that was a concern, residents said they didn’t want more shops.
The petition said that residents feared a return to the anti-social behaviour that led to the closure of the pub.
They also wanted to see affordable housing, not more shops.
Mohammed Shahid Rafiq runs Shad’s Bishopston Stores. He spoke at the meeting and said approval for the new shops would ruin his business.
“Myself and my family have had a shop in Caerau for 34 years.
“I believe other retail units will probably detriment the area in terms of the economy and also, in terms of the plans, I don’t think it would suit the area.
“We’ve had a petition in the shop and we’ve had nearly 800 signatures. There’s a feeling in the area that we don’t want any more retail units. Business has gone down quite considerably when other stores have opened in the area.
“Maybe not in the short but in the long term, definitely jobs will be lost.
“I employ 10 people and my neighbours nearby have a number of staff as well. I don’t think this scheme is viable.”
The agent told the committee that it was expected other businesses would object as they would be in competition with the new stores.
He said the investment will be £1m which will “obviously benefit the local community”.
“The developer was interested in taking down the building and putting a very good building. It will become a benefit for that area”.
However, officers said that competition between businesses “isn’t a planning issue”.
“If planning permission were refused on those grounds, the council would lose a planning appeal and likely have costs put against us,” a planning officer told the committee.
Residents were also concerned about lorries accessing the site.
The ward councillors, Labour’s Peter Bradbury and Elaine Simmons, both opposed the scheme.
Committee member Frank Jacobsen said he had concerns about lorries reversing around the area. He says schoolchildren using the new school could be in danger.
“If there’s no road widening scheme for these lorries, surely it’s an accident waiting to happen?,” he added.
Speaking after the planning meeting, Mr Rafiq was clearly relieved but said he didn’t believe their battle was over.