A HISTORIC Gower pub will be demolished for housing as controversial plans were narrowly approved by Swansea councillors.
Five members of Swansea’s planning committee voted in favour of the Greyhound Inn redevelopment, four voted against and two abstained.
The application had prompted 65 letters of objection and a petition with 324 signatures, but also 101 letters of support.
A planning agent said at the meeting that applicant Chris Stevens gained “little satisfaction” from having to close the Oldwalls pub.
“It has been a constant drain on their resources,” she said. “Licensed premises throughout Swansea and Gower are facing difficult times. Many have been forced to close their doors.
“The Greyhound, contrary to many assumptions, was no longer a feasible investment.”
She said Mr Stevens had owned the Greyhound Inn for 18 years, that his application “was not a case of asset-stripping”, and that the nine houses proposed — including four affordable ones — would benefit the community.
She added that her client had only received one offer to buy the pub but that the prospective buyer had been unable to secure a mortgage.
Objector Janice Williams said the pub’s previous tenant had run a successful business, and urged the council to scrutinise why there was such a drop in trade and profits when Mr Stevens began running it in October 2016.
“It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to successfully run a public house but it is far easier to run a business down especially when there is a purpose in doing so,” she said.
Mrs Williams also said the £1.1 million asking price was unrealistic and maintained there had been a second offer which, at £800,000, was £40,000 higher than the one which she said had not gone through the selling agent and was later rescinded.
And she added that another opening had been made for entry to a field behind the pub, and said this access would lead to a dispute.
Councillor Richard Lewis said the pub could still “be a runner” and that losing it would have a “massive” impact on tourism, which he said was worth £150 million per year to Gower.
He said: “Gower is a very precious business — it means a lot of jobs for people in the area.”
Councillor Peter Black said he sympathised with those who did not want the pub to be knocked down, but said its fortunes were not a planning consideration for the committee.
He said he was concerned that future access to the field at the rear, which is used for caravans, was “absolutely central to this application”, and that approving the nine houses without resolving this access “could cause huge problems in the future”.
Councillor Des Thomas said he also sympathised with supporters of the pub but said: “Unless you can run it as a business, you can’t keep dipping your hands into your pockets to keep it going.”
A planning officer said councillors should not feel that granting approval would “automatically allow access to the field at a later point”, and that ultimately it would be down to the two parties to resolve.
The officer also said that the layout of the proposed development would result in better road visibility for occupiers than is currently the case, as the pub is situated on a bend.
Councillor Paulette Smith said the speed of the traffic on the road outside the pub was “unbelievable”, while councillor Linda Tyler-Lloyd said the application was “too messy” and had “too many unknowns”.