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December 2015

(extracted from the Neath Ferret website - Readers Letters)

Auction for a car park - what next?

I could not believe my eyes when I saw a sign that the car park at the Wauncerich shops (Tesco Express, Piper's Fish Bar and Barnados etc) was up for auction.
I assume that up to now the car park belonged to the developers - Waterstones, who suddenly realised that there was money to be make by selling off the car park.
No doubt this would allow any buyer to clamp cars after a time period and make a substantial amount of money.
Here again motorists are being taken for a ride (excuse the pun) and more money is about to made on their backs.
However, it gives the public the right to hold the company responsible for keeping the area clean and tidy.
Maybe a residents association should be formed to monitor what may happen here (and elsewhere) to pursue any problems that may arise

Posted by Joe B on 22 December 2015

I have yet to see the sign myself but, having never used the car park it does not bother me.
It may perhaps improve matters because, as a member of the Bryncoch Environmental Group we used to collect the disgusting amount of litter left in the car park until we realised we were being used as unthanked litter pickers for Tesco at which point we stopped.
The businesses there may therefore in future be required to keep their immediate exteriors litter free which will be a distinct improvement. 

Posted by T Griffiths on 22 December 2015

That's interesting Joe but how can they just sell the car park element? The shop units are serviced by a rear entrance - I wonder if that is part of the package, then of course there's the matter of the freehold of the shops. Is that part of the deal? 

Interestingly if you Google Waterstone Estates you'll link to their site which refers to this complex as "Neath View". The editors may wish to look at this.

Another thing - if you look up Waterstone Homes they list their past developments. The area known by locals as White's Folly, after the totally inappropriate design brief for the residential site that was approved by Neath planners - well, it's not made the list on their past schemes. Maybe it's one they'd rather forget. Typical of what happens in Neath. Come into the area, screw over the planners, make a quick buck and b*gger off back to the Vale!

Joe - you may need some sort of local Action Group to keep an eye on this.

Posted by Stan on 22 December 2015

I have just had a word with a proprietor of one of the shops mentioned above and was given information about the costs involved.

All the shops are leasehold and the rent is £17,000 pa. Tesco is probably more because the property is larger.

A quarterly charge of £350 is made for maintenance, intended for car park lighting, barriers and outside cleaning. It was alleged that Tesco have not paid this for the past 2 years. No-one from Tesco was available to comment.

In addition to this, council tax (business rates) is said to be £6,000 pa. On top of this there are water, electricity (and gas?) charges.

Tesco are blamed for the state of the car park because they are not paying their maintenance charge (alleged).

The auction sign has now been removed and there is no information about the buyer - if any!

The above information should give an idea of the burden shop owners have in running their business.

Posted by Joe B on 22 December 2015

One shop owner on the site said that perhaps the auction was for the lease of the whole commercial section, in which case it would mean him having a new landlord.

Based on the figures given, the total rental income from the commercial site would be around an estimated £120,000 pa. Plus the right to clamp cars with the car park included.
Over a ten year period the rents add up to over a million pounds - not bad if the purchase price was right!
Of course, Waterstones would still own the freehold with the option to re-lease it after a prescribed period.
No doubt time may reveal details - unless Waterstones, with an alleged questionable background, will keep their cards close to their chest.
As one correspondent said, the site (White's Folly) is not mentioned under past developments on the Waterstones website, No doubt they are not proud of this housing development, which now has its own website called NEATH EYE SORE.
A Neath resident would not be allowed to build his own house so close to a road, let alone all the other considerations.

Posted by Joe B on 22 December 2015

20th March 2011

Shop Car Park Joke

A 64 seater restaurant is planned for the shopping complex at Waunceirch that includes a Tesco Express Store.   The joke is that there are notices limiting car parking to 20 minutes with a penalty of £75 if exceeded - not even long enough to order your meal, let alone eat it!

This also applies to customers at the adjacent hair and beauty saloon - is it possible to have a hair perm in 20 minutes?

What is worrying residents will be the possibility of over-flow parking on the main road, which is adjacent to a junior primary school.

Residents are asking if this another case of bad planning by the local authority? 

March 2011

Demand to move half built house

A local councillor informs us that as the result of a planning enforcement officer of the NPT CBC planning department looking at the building site, the builder has been ordered to move one house 5 metres further back from the road.

The reason for the order is to allow more visibility for traffic on the bend at the Rhiwlas roundabout.

Currently the site is screened off from public view - so no-one can see what is going on.


1st July 2010

Homes not 'affordable'
say Welsh Assembly

For two years we have been trying to find out if the Welsh Assembly Government was helping to make the Waterstones Home at Llywn Helyg (White's Folly) affordable for first time buyers. The following reply gives the answer:-
"We have conducted a brief meeting with Jocelyn Davies (Minister for Housing) regarding your concerns about Llwyn Helyg housing development.
In the meeting, she said that as far as she knows, there are no affordable units on this site in the planning. Waterstones does not offer any shared equity properties. We have also received the following statement from the Assembly Members' Research Service:--" 
"Llywn Helyg is a private housing development in the Waunceirch area of Neath built by Waterstone Homes and is a mix of 2, 3 and 4 bed detached, terrace, town and coach houses. It is not receiving and has not received, any funding from the Welsh Assembly Government, neither will any such funding be provided as this is a purely private development." 
This puts the record straight following our allegations made in good faith about these houses. It also explains the relatively high asking price for the homes now being built.
However, the matter does not end there, as we have asked the Welsh Assembly Government where the £35m allocated for affordable homes has gone to? 

We thank The Neath Ferret for the above item.



12th November 2009

Neath Eye-Sore goes blue
Waterstones starting to board up site.

The Neath eye-sore development site, adjacent to the Caewern Tesco Express Store is being boarded up and the boards painted a dark blue. We wonder why? Is it because Waterstone Homes (Bridged) are ashamed of the eye-sore site? Or is it because they have difficulty is selling the houses they have already built because of the site's bad layout? Perhaps both reasons apply to the housing development that is the laughing stock of the neighbourhood. The site is nick-named 'White's Folly' after the name of the council's chief planning officer, Geoff White, who recommended the development to the council - who are now wiser with hindsight.
A member of the Bryncoch Environment Group stated that a better colour should have been chosen for the painted boards - possibly one that would have blended in with the area. The lack of thought for the colour seems to be typical for the development - for which is is alleged the Welsh Assembly is paying the developer 20% of the costs because they are supposed to be building affordable homes.
Think about it - if this is correct, the tax payers money (your money) is going towards building Neath greatest eye-sore. No wonder the 'hide the site' boards are being painted blue - because that's how residents feel! 

We wish to thank the Neath Ferret for the above report


3rd August 2009

Neath Eye Sore Development
4 more houses to be crammed in
The ridge top development at Waunceirch, that's really only suitable for bungalows because of its location, is to have an extra four houses jammed in - if the developers get their way. The original planning consent was for a total of 34 dwellings but revised plans now show an extra 4 houses.
The site is adjacent to the single storey Waunceirch primary school and the single storey Tesco Express that opened last December. The new houses will tower above these buildings making the development Neath's biggest eye sore. Residents are so incensed with the look of the development, with houses only feet away from the sidewalk - similar to those built around 1905, that they support a website called: "Neath Biggest Eye Sore."
Currently there is no provision for a desired footpath from Cloda Avenue / Fernlea Park to the new shopping centre, which means that residents will take a short cut through the new development at the expense of the new tenants' privacy. This has been brought to the attention of the council's Planning Department, who will hopefully look after the interest of existing residents - as well as the ones who will occupy the new properties when the development is completed in 2010.
Residents have until 11th August 2009 to send their objections or comments to the Neath Port Talbot Planning Department. The planning application number is P2009/0514


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