Hundreds of residents of Pontcanna are sending as many letters to the City Council today to prevent the development of a commercial site in Kings Road.
The community fears local businesses, parking spaces and traffic might be badly affected if the current “Dairy Gallery” will be transformed in a convenience store. Last year they organized the Pontcanna Pine Campaign to oppose the construction proposal.
Pontcanna Pine Development, who bought the site and proposed the changes never specified they are going to build a convenience store. Their first application to the City Council in 2010, regarded the construction of 14 flats. In a later application in July 2011, they proposed 10 flats and a retail store.
“We know it would be a convenience store because of the size of the space,” says Simon White. Mr White has been living in Pontcanna for the last 22 years. He joined the Pontcanna Pine campaign as a technical and planning expert.
After the July application, two thousand residents signed a petition to exhort the Council to reject the development proposal. Cardiff Council eventually asked the company to provide a new proposal to address “the retail impact in respect of Pontcanna Street/ Cathedral Road neighbourhood centre, Kings Road/Pontcanna Street neighbourhood Centre and Cowbridge Road East District Centre; the consequent harm to the Conservation Areas of any harmful economic impact and closures.”
Pontcanna Pine Development presented a final proposal last December saying they wish to build eight flats and a 268 sq.m retail floorspace. They write:
“A visit to any of the stores with similar floorspace […] will demonstrate that there is no fresh bread or meat counter and limited fruit and vegetables.
“The majority of floorspace is taken up with dried goods and chilled and frozen products.”
For people living in Pontcanna the proposal is not good enough. Mr White says:
“This area would be more appropriate for five nice terraced houses. It would be much safer from our point of view to have houses, because we already have nice local shops.”
The community, explained Mr White, appreciated the previous project, the Dairy, a coffee place and gallery that sold antiques. In his view the company used this project to “make an income while waiting for the flats project.”
Cardiff City Council has given the residents of Pontcanna until today to express their views on the proposal. Following a meeting on January 12, they are sending additional letters to the Development Management City Development.
The Planning Committee will meet and decide on the future of the area on February 8.
Photo: Pontcanna Hub