A GARDEN centre has been given permission to replace a number of buildings and improve its car park. 

The plans, by Usk Garden Centre, in Llanbadoc, had prompted a number of calls for road safety improvements in the village, including a lower speed limit, but councillors have been told those concerns do not directly relate to the planning application. 

Monmouthshire council’s planning committee approved the plans to build two new buildings to be used as a food preparation area, a vegetable store and staff rest room and office accommodation as well as a new building for All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) sales. 

However the committee was told all the new buildings are replacements  for existing structures intended to make the centre’s operations more efficient rather than an expansion. Overall floorspace will be reduced.

The redesign will also increase the size of the car park, which will now have 122 parking spaces, with an additional 12 designated disabled bays, which council highway officials agreed will “considerably improve” the existing parking arrangements. Access to the main road will also be improved. 

Five objections to the plans were received, with a number citing road safety concerns including over the speed of vehicles. 

Residents of a nearby property said they had no objection to the application but wanted to “take the opportunity” to request a 30mph speed limit be imposed between Usk Rugby Club and Hanley Court on route to the centre. 

They said motorists often rev up for “a speed thrill ride” due to the bends in the road and acknowledged: “These rogue motorists do not appear to be visitors to the Garden Centre who tend to slow down in order to turn in”. 

Local councillor Tony Kear said he had “no objection” to the plans but said residents have reported increased traffic in line with the garden centre’s increased retail offer. 

He also requested a 30mph limit and suggested a wider pavement on the approach as currently pedestrians have to step into the road to pass others. 

The application was approved with conditions.