South West Wales

Swansea City says McDonald's plan risks Liberty Stadium expansion

Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins at the Liberty Stadium
Image caption Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins said the decision was "short sighted and baffling"

Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins says a decision to allow a new fast food restaurant next to the Liberty Stadium threatens plans to expand the ground.

Councillors have granted planning consent for a new McDonald's.

Mr Jenkins accused them of "short-sightedness" after they ignored objections from stadium managers.

Swansea's McDonald's franchisee Ron Mounsey said the site had been empty for more than five years and the restaurant would create 75 new jobs.

Swansea council said it was a matter for individual councillors on the planning committee.

At a meeting this week councillors approved an application by the chain for a drive-through restaurant on land near the ground, subject to conditions.

The site already had outline planning consent for two restaurants.

The Liberty Stadium Management Company, which runs the stadium and has representatives from the football club, the Ospreys regional rugby side and city council on its board, objected to the proposal.

The council's planning officers had recommended it was refused.

In a statement issued on the Premier League club's website Mr Jenkins said: "The club's board of directors was shocked and disappointed at the short-sightedness of the decision.

"The local authority was well aware of our concerns and objections for a fast food outlet on the perimeter of the stadium and it remains to be sen whether the decision will have a detrimental effect for the further expansion plans we have."

He said the club wanted to increase the capacity at the Liberty to accommodate the "thousands of supporters" who could not get tickets.

He added: "Swansea as a city has made too many short-term decisions over the years.

"Real opportunities"

"Again the view of creating a handful of jobs is more important than the development of the Liberty Stadium and the overall growth of the city that Premier League football can promote and deliver.

"The council has been shouting from the rooftops since Swansea City gained promotion to the Premier League about the massive benefits it has brought to the city in terms of business and tourism.

"Yet they make a decision which goes against everything they've been preaching, It's baffling."

But Mr Mounsey said he was delighted to have received planning permission as it would help regenerate the site.

"As a local businessman who has lived in Wales for over 25 years, I already employ more than 450 people in Swansea and this new restaurant will create a further 75 jobs that will help those struggling to find work," he added.

"These new jobs will mean real opportunities for young people and those looking for first time work, offering them the chance to get a foot on the jobs ladder and go on to build lasting careers.

"I have a long term commitment to the area and working with the local community has been at the core of my business since it began.

"The new restaurant at Morfa Retail Park will provide a convenient restaurant choice for local residents and visitors to enjoy."

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