The city council’s development management sub-committee backed planning officers’ recommendations that the Bounce About proposals be refused. The application for an empty unit on Huly Hill Road in the Newbridge area of the Capital were rejected, despite receiving 57 public letters or support and no objections.
If plans had been approved, a children’s soft play area would have contained a “one-piece bouncy castle approximately 20,000 square feet of pure family fun”. The developers claimed it would be the largest bouncy castle in Europe. The yard at the rear of the premises would have been used as car parking.
In a planning statement, the applicant said: “The building is owned by Shell UK, it has remained empty for almost 18 months. The building has also been refurbished and they are still unable to find a tenant.
“Across the Newhouse area there are multiple buildings available for rent. Over 15 properties in the area are available. We viewed over 10 locations before selecting 4 Huly Hill Rd.
“The yard located at the rear of the building is in a perfect position to provide additional parking. The local area is also supported by excellent local public transport.”
But planning officers disputed the alleged public transport links and recommended it be refused.
In a report to councillors, officers said: “The site is not in a location which is well served by public transport.
“The proposed use of the site as a soft play area would lead to significant travel demand on a daily basis which, given the location of the site, would have to be met by car travel.”
It added: “It has not been adequately demonstrated that the proposal will not have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of existing town centres. In addition, the development would result in the loss of industrial floor space and the introduction of a non-conforming use within a business and industry area.”
The council’s transport department made no objection to the proposals and said the level of car parking was “considered appropriate”.
Cllr Hal Osler backed calls from planning convener, Cllr Neil Gardiner, for the officers’ recommendations to be overturned and the application be approved.
She said: “It’s actually serviced by two buses.
“If the unit has been empty for several years, can we afford to turn down opportunities for employment? ”
But Cllr Chas Booth supported the plans being rejected.
He said: “What is being proposed is an increase in car travel – that’s there in black and white in the report. That’s what we are voting to approve.
“I think the report has been well prepared and I absolutely can find no fault with it whatsoever.”
Councillors voted to refuse permission for change of use.
After the decision was made by councillors, the applicant got up from his seat in the public gallery and addressed planning officers, shouting: “It’s disgusting what you’ve said today. It’s shocking.”