Mold store plans looks doomed in hours row

Reporter:

Jennifer Meierhans

ONE million pound plans to transform a Mold “eyesore” garage into a shop could be scrapped following a clash over opening hours.

An ambitious project to turn the derelict Morris’ Garage site on Wrexham Road into a convenience store has hit a stumbling block.

Flintshire planners granted permission for a Spar, under the condition it closed at 9pm Monday to Saturday and at 4pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

But Spar bosses say they will not go ahead with the development unless they are granted later opening hours.

A company representative branded the decision “disappointing” and said it
rendered the opportunity “completely unviable”.

The application was heard by Flintshire Council’s planning committee.

Owen Davies spoke on behalf of Blakemore Retail Ltd, which trades as Spar, in favour of a 7am until 11pm Monday to Saturday service.

“Opening hours are key to a successful convenience store,” Mr Davies told the committee.

“Sunday in the convenience sector is traditionally the busiest day for us,” he added, in support of 7am until 10pm hours on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

He said the £1 million Mold store would create 24 local jobs, which paid more than minimum wage and offered many staff benefits.

Mr Davies said product availability, friendly staff and long opening hours were three of the top five things people looked for in a convenience store.

But Cllr Christine Jones warned against a late licence after reports of gang intimidation at a Spar store in Garden City.

Mold Broncoed councillor Haydn Bateman spoke on behalf of residents who objected against late opening hours.

“The site is situated in a quiet residential area made up of terraced and detached houses and a block of 30 sheltered retired apartments and the residents are fearful of the nuisance the late opening hours could cause,” he said.

He quoted Flintshire’s Unitary Development Plan which stated: “The development should not have a significant adverse impact on the safety and amenity of nearby residents.”

Planners had previously agreed hours of 7am until 9pm Monday to Saturday and 9am until 4pm Sundays and Bank Holiday. But the authority’s licensing committee extended these until 11pm Monday to Saturday and 10pm Sundays and Bank Holidays.

The planning committee turned down the later opening hours on the grounds of “the impact on local residential amenity”.

Following the meeting Spar representative Lawrence Brown said: “We are extremely disappointed with the local planning committees decision to reduce the opening hours as this makes the opportunity completely unviable.

“We will not accept anything less than we have previously agreed, 6am until 11pm Monday to Saturday and 7am until 10pm on Sunday.

“As a result of the decision of the planning committee to go against the officer's recommendation for approval of the project, we appear to have no choice but to shelve the scheme as the awarded opening hours will not work for any of the convenience store operators.

“This is very disappointing as the site is an eyesore in Mold and would have been transformed by our £1 million redevelopment with a brand new modern retail facility and plenty of car-parking.

“The store would have also introduced 24 new jobs to Mold.”

“Everybody expects a convenience store to be open long hours, that is what makes them so convenience store

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