DC-2013-01071 - Proposed commercial development comprising two A1 retail units (Retail Unit 1 (668.90 sq. m gross) Retail Unit 2 (594.58 sq. m gross) both to be occupied by a bulky goods retailer A1 retail) and a Class A3 public house/restaurant with ancillary accommodation, associated car parking, servicing, access and landscaping at Dixton Road, Monmouth
We considered the report of the application which was presented for refusal for the three reasons as outlined in the report.
Councillor R. Roden, representing Monmouth Town Council, attended the meeting by invitation of the Chair and outlined the following points in objection to the application:
· The 2017 – 2020 Monmouthshire Destination Management Plan sets out the County’s objectives. One of these objectives is to make a great first impression for visitors to Wales.
· Visitors should be encouraged to visit Monmouth to experience the unique blend of shopping, historical sites, restaurants and public houses that the town offers.
· The construction of a prominent public house and retail park at the entrance to the town would be detrimental to the area, taking visitors away from the town and reducing footfall there.
· The proposed development would bring no benefit to the Town.
· The site is an unsuitable location for a development as outlined in the application.
· The second objective in the 2017 – 2020 Monmouthshire Destination Management Plan is to promote our inspirational landscapes and border country heritage that gives the County a special character.
· The proposed development is not in keeping with the area which is nearly surrounded by green fields and viewed from the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
· On the English side of the border, the AONB extends further either side of the River Wye offering significantly more protection against damage to the area.
· The proposed development would be damaging to the scenic attractiveness of the area.
· Monmouth Town Council considers that the proposed development would damage the town and the surrounding area having a detrimental impact on tourism, the local economy, the environment and local residents.
· Stakeholder groups within the town are opposed to the proposed development. Monmouth Town Council asked that the Planning Committee considers refusing the application without reservation.
Mr. D. Cummings, representing Monmouth Chamber of Commerce, attended the meeting by invitation of the Chair and outlined the following points in objection to the application:
· The proposed development would adversely affect Monmouth as a market town and the Gateway to Wales.
· Confidence in the retail sector is fragile and there are currently 20 empty retail premises located within the Town.
· Small businesses not only face Brexit uncertainty but also a loss of business rate relief next year. The application adds to the local uncertainty.
· The proposal suggests that the lack of bulk goods retailers in Monmouth means that people are travelling to shop in Newport and beyond. It is considered that if residents cannot find goods in Monmouth then residents tend to buy goods online.
· The objections to the application from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is damning in its comments about the developer’s failure to address fundamental issues about the flood consequence assessment and providing an escape route in the event of extreme flooding.
· Expert advice taken indicated that these objections are insurmountable.
· NRW is able to influence Welsh Government with a view to calling in any application it objects to.
· The Dixton site flooded extensively in 2014 and has flooded on occasions before 2014.
· Concern was expressed whether the operators of the site will be able to secure insurance if the land floods and if it does so repeatedly, concern was expressed that the site might be abandoned.
· The town’s public house sector is already under threat with two closures occuring since the retail impact assessment was undertaken.
· The proposed site is located on the edge of the Wye Valley AONB and is at the entrance to the lower Wye Valley.
· Monmouth is the centre for education and retains many features from its historical past. It has a long musical heritage creating its uniqueness. No town has ever had its uniqueness improved by an out of town retail development.
· Monmouth Town Council fully supports the recommendation outlined in the report that the application be refused.
Having considered the report of the application and the views expressed, it was proposed by County Councillor M. Feakins and seconded by County Councillor P. Murphy that application DC/2013/01071 be refused for the three reasons, as outlined in the report.
Upon being put to the vote, the following votes were recorded:
For refusal - 10
Against refusal - 0
Abstentions - 0
The proposition was carried.
We resolved that application DC/2013/01071 be refused for the three reasons, as outlined in the report.