William Powell AM calls on Welsh Government to intervene to protect Llandeilo

March 30, 2012 11:08 AM

William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, has called on the Welsh Government to intervene to protect Llandeilo town centre from a potentially devastating and rushed planning decision.

Carmarthenshire County Council Planning Committee is scheduled to pass an application to build a new J Sainsbury's supermarket on the banks of the Afon Tywi tomorrow, following last minute alterations to the plans. As a result of the late changes it is clear that potential objectors have not had the opportunity to fully scrutinise the plans and therefore it is essential that the Welsh Government steps in to prevent rushed pre-election decisions from damaging the future of the town.

William Powell, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, said:

"With the significant changes which have been made to this proposal at the twelfth hour, it is abundantly clear that key stakeholders have not had the opportunity to fully respond and evaluate its potential impact on the town.

As the Council's own conclusions make clear, the current proposal represents a significant departure from planning policies E7 and R7 in their own adopted Unitary Development Plan, is deeply questionable and could end up doing more damage than good to the town. Rural town centres are under constant threat and it is paramount that we use the planning system to enhance them rather than seal their fate.

It is for this reason that I have called on the Welsh Government to call in the application and ensure that local officials are doing the correct thing, rather than forcing something through before May's local elections.

Building on a flood-plain is always a potentially dangerous undertaking and it is essential that all relevant bodies are fully engaged in the process. Given the recent changes to the proposal, it is evidently clear that this has happened in this case."

Simon Buckley of Evan-Evans Brewery added:

"How can you approve this application, when the Retail impact study said that there was no need for it, the top up retail impact study was conducted before the modification of the plan, and the inclusion of a Pharmacy, Internet shopping and a café. The retail impact study says that there is no need for the three stores being applied for, and that the community does not need this additional shop. It is clear to any reasonable person that to build this superstore is to cut across every planning policy that the Council has ever written."

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