Plans for 179 student apartments in Gabalfa have been approved by the Welsh Government’s planning inspectorate, despite being thrown out by city councillors last year.
Cardiff Council’s planning committee rejected proposals from Cardiff University in December to build a seven-storey block of 179 apartments at Talybont Gate, on Bevan Place, after residents expressed concern the development’s provision of just seven on-site parking spaces would increase parking problems in an already congested part of Cardiff.
But the university appealed the decision, and planning inspector Andrew Poulter decided earlier this week to allow the development, overturning the council’s earlier ruling.
In his report, Mr Poulter said that despite residents’ worries that the new apartment block would add to difficulties with on street parking, the site is currently a “little-used” overspill car park which “does not make a significant contribution to parking provision”.
He said: “The proposal would therefore not result in a significant loss of existing parking provision.”
Mr Poulter went on to say the site had “excellent” pedestrian, cycle and public transport links, that the university campus provides a substantial number of parking spaces for staff and residents, and the development would have good cycle parking.
He also said that although there were concerns the proposal would amount to an over-development of the area, the design of the proposed block would not lead to “unacceptable adverse visual, amenity or highways impacts”.
He said although there was already a concentration of student accommodation in Gabalfa, there was no evidence to suggest this leads to problems, or that student accommodation should be shared more equally with other areas.
Mr Poulter allowed the appeal, with conditions, providing the university makes a contribution towards open space, traffic and transport infrastructure and community facilities elsewhere in the city.
But local ward member Gareth Holden described the planning inspector’s decision as “shocking”, while fellow ward councillor Ed Bridges said the area had been “betrayed” by the Welsh Government.
Coun Holden said: “This is very disappointing for local residents. The Planning Inspector who has overturned the refusal of permission isn’t going to have to live with the consequences of this decision – but we are. The extra parking pressure it will create is simply unacceptable. It’s a shocking decision.”
But Cardiff University said it was pleased its “high-quality development” could go ahead.
A university spokesman said: “Talybont Gate will offer modern, sustainable accommodation, complete with the latest IT facilities. The University is an active member of the community and is in continual discussion with councillors and other representatives about local issues, including parking.
“Parking provision on the site has been designed in accordance with Cardiff Council’s sustainable transport agenda, encouraging the use of more sustainable transport, particularly cycling, rather than cars. The University is confident that the extra spaces, together with existing provision on the Talybont complex, will meet the limited parking needs of the new building.”