Sex shop where brutal Swansea murder took place is part of new bedsits, flats and retail scheme

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The sex shop where one of Swansea’s most brutal ever murders took place could soon be turned into housing.

RJ Property Group has submitted a preliminary planning application to Swansea Council asking to change the use of the old Private Shop into six studio apartments, two one bedroom apartments, one of which already exists, and two nine-bedroom HMOs (houses of multiple occupancy).

Also transformed under the plans would be the former Singleton Hotel, which used to be rammed with football fans when the city centre was packed to the brim on Swansea City match days at Vetch Field.

Swansea City moved to the Liberty Stadium in 2005. The Singleton Hotel was one of the last surviving watering holes of that time, but it closed in March when Ei Publican Partnerships put it up for sale for £295,000.

The Singleton also once had a relationship with the nearby Grand Theatre in Singleton Street, Swansea, and a number of performers who took to the stage there would stay at the hotel, including Bob Monkhouse, Windsor Davies and Joe Pasquale, to name a few. Signs of its storied history can still be seen on the building with its famous ‘comedy and tragedy masks’.

The Private Shop, located next door at 3 Dillwyn Street, has been closed for a number of months having traded there for generations.

In June, 1985, it was the scene of the horrific murder of sex shop manager and mother-of-four Sandra Phillips who was sexually assaulted, struck about the head, and eventually strangled.

This company has to clean up after people have died:


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The scene outside the sex shop as police investigate the murder
The scene outside the sex shop as police investigated the murder



Sandra Phillips was killed at the Swansea sex shop she managed in June 1985
Sandra Phillips was killed at the Swansea sex shop she managed in June, 1985

Despite exhaustive investigations over several years, and the wrongful conviction and jailing of two men, the brutal murder 34 years ago remains unsolved.

Plans state that The Singleton Hotel was bought for £262,000 whilst the former sex shop was purchased for £150,000.

The application claimed there had been no interest shown by families in purchasing either property – adding that the proposal would introduce 26 residents into the city centre if given the green light.

Documents submitted to the authority read: “The Singleton Hotel has been run down over the past few years and is currently a pub at ground floor level, seven en-suite letting rooms at first floor level and a four bedroom flat at second floor level.

“The adjacent retail unit was used as a retail sex shop for a number of years, however it has been closed for a number of months. The Singleton has a bar, lounge and toilet facilities at ground floor level and the former sex shop has a retail element, garage, kitchen and ancillary accommodation at ground floor level.

“The proposal will create a nine-bedroom HMO in the former ground floor of the Singleton Hotel.  Each bedroom will have a separate en-suite bathroom and the scheme will provide a large open plan kitchen/dining room/living room.

“In the former sex shop, the proposal will retain a commercial unit at ground floor level with an ancillary kitchen area and office.

“Above the former sex shop the scheme will retain the one bedroom flat but look to create a studio flat towards the rear of the property. The studio would have a separate bathroom.”



Many famous faces once stayed at the Singleton Hotel, including Bob Monkhouse



Singleton Hotel closing its doors on March 27 earlier this year



Inside the old Singleton Hotel

The applicant argued the buildings were in “serious need of significant investment to bring them back into beneficial use.”

“The application properties are large commercial properties which are sited adjacent to a busy road within the city centre, planning documents read.

“In light of the significant work required to bring the buildings back into beneficial use and their location adjacent to a busy road in the city centre, they are not considered suitable for families. As such it is envisaged that the property would be occupied by students or young professionals.

“It is felt that the proposed mixed residential use will complement the surrounding adjacent commercial uses and provide much needed affordable residential accommodation within a city centre location.

“The site is in a prime location to attract students, young professionals or people wishing to work in the city centre or growing university campuses and will help support and sustain commercial premises within the locality.

“The existing building is too large and requires too much investment to be viable as a family home. Furthermore, market evidence suggests the location is not suitable or viable as a residential home. The approval of this application will also reduce the pressure to convert residential properties to HMOs which will have a positive impact on the wider area.” 



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