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Plans to demolish Swansea’s popular seafront ice-cream parlour refused

Ripples cafe and ice-cream parlour, West Cross, Swansea (Pic: Richard Youle)

PLANS to knock down a garage and adjoining ice cream parlour by the seafront in West Cross, Swansea, have been turned down.

The proposal was to replace the ice cream parlour and cafe, currently Ripples, with a new one but not rebuild the long-established West Cross Garage. A two-bedroom flat was also planned over two floors above the rebuilt parlour.

West Cross Garage, which is open for business, facing Mumbles Road (Pic: Richard Youle)

Applicant and director of Business Advice Limited, David Morgan, said he planned to appeal Swansea Council’s refusal decision.

The application led to 268 letters of objection and two in support. Objectors said the garage was valued and well used and that the ice cream parlour didn’t need replacing. Some also felt the design of the replacement building looked out of character with the area. West Cross councillor Rebecca Fogarty and Mumbles Community Council also objected.

Swansea Council’s planning department said key issues to consider included the principle of development, visual impact, highway safety and flooding.

Planning officers said the principle of residential use at the site may be acceptable. But they said the loss of the garage was relevant as planning policy sought in part to safeguard community facilities, and that proposals which resulted in their loss needed to meet criteria.

In this instance, they said, the loss of the garage wasn’t justified.

Their decision report added that there was “no evidence to substantiate the claim that the existing long-established vehicle repair garage is causing a noise nuisance and results in an incompatible use in this area”.

The report said Ripples had a unique and individual character, and added: “Whilst it is acknowledged that the current proposal does include a replacement ice cream parlour to the ground floor, given that the current building would need to be demolished and re-developed, potentially this key community facility could be lost for a considerable period of time.”

There was no objection from the highways department, but planning officers felt the design and form of the replacement building was “contrived” and would appear “cramped” and “incongruous”.

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A flood consequence assessment was commissioned by the applicant, and while it recommended mitigation measures to reduce flood risk, environment regulator Natural Resources Wales said it didn’t comply with Wales-wide flood planning guidance.

A planning statement on behalf of the applicant said two jobs would have been lost at the garage but that the rebuilt ice cream parlour would have resulted in a net gain of four full and part-time jobs and opened seven days a week from 8.30am to 8.30pm. It said the new building would have enhanced the appearance and character of the area, and that the current garage lacked parking and was set in an attractive area making it an “inappropriate location”.

A previous application to knock down Ripples and West Cross Garage and build a four-bedroom house in their place led to 1,174 objections and was turned down.