Plans to turn former Buckley bar and restaurant into 13 apartments rejected amid parking concerns
PLANS to convert a former bar and restaurant in Buckley into 13 apartments have been rejected due to concerns about parking and access.
Flintshire Council’s planning committee met this week to discuss an application to transform the Windmill bar and grill into living accommodation.
A senior official had recommended the scheme for approval as he said the site was in easy reach of the town centre and would encourage residents to shop locally.
However, councillors heard issues raised by neighbours on Millers Court, who said the proposed parking area was not big enough and would block access to their homes.
It was also claimed the loss of the restaurant could impact the town’s economy.
Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting, George Mitchell, who lives nearby, said: “I am a resident of Millers Court and believe the proposed conversion of the Windmill restaurant will have a detrimental impact on the amenity of my property.
“Parking of vehicles along the road would be impossible as it would block access from all our properties for all vehicles, including emergency vehicles.
“As Buckley is presently meeting with Flintshire County Council to explore the possibility to improve the town, it is sad that yet another commercial business is up for consideration to become yet more flats.
“Any loss of business is a loss forever at the expense of a thriving town.”
The plans were originally meant to be decided at last month’s planning meeting, but were deferred because of an issue with land ownership certificates.
Officers told the committee the problem had since been resolved.
Local councillor Dennis Hutchinson was among those who voiced their opposition to the scheme.
He said: “Residents feel that the parking area is too small to accommodate parking for 16 vehicles plus an amenity area to accommodate 13 black bins and other recycling materials.
“It will lead to an overcrowded parking area, which in turn will lead to indiscriminate parking along the access road.
“It is a narrow road and very difficult for the dustbin wagon to reverse down as we speak.
“Emergency vehicles would have a serious problem if the access road was in any way blocked by parked cars.”
But Cllr Derek Butler, who sits on the local authority’s ruling cabinet, argued having more people living in the town centre would boost the area’s economy.
He added there were no relevant grounds available to councillors to refuse the proposals.
He said: “There are difficulties with this site obviously but with the issue about it being viable, there are quite a number of empty properties in the core commercial centre of Buckley at the moment.
“This is on the periphery and it has been empty for a long time.
“Part of the tactics for regenerating town centres is getting the night time economy boosted.
“Getting that night time economy boosted means people actually living in the town and thereby shopping where they live.”
At the end of the debate, the application was refused by a narrow margin of nine votes to eight.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter
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