Wednesday, 11 May 2011

A 'Green Light to Go' for Cardigan's Bath-House Sainsbury's Development

The on-going saga surrounding the controversial commercial development in the Bath-House area of Cardigan is coming to a conclusion.

As I mentioned in my blog here back in February, the tit-for-tat supermarket war between Sainsbury’s, who are seeking to move into the Bath-House development, and the current Tesco’s store at the top of town has prolonged the issue. Indeed, a late letter sent in by Tesco tried to thwart today's discussion once more as they requested a further deferral so that this Sainsbury's application could be dealt with in tandem with one of their own.

Thankfully, the committee saw sense today to wave away that plea and made a decision on the application in front of it this morning on its own merit.

As I mentioned in that blog post in February, I raised two specific concerns and I raised them again this morning:

"I raised my concerns regarding the proposed petrol station and the Environment Agency's concern about how its sub-surface tanks may have an adverse impact on the water course in the River Mwldan. I also raised my concern of the proposed 65% food retail / 35% non-food retail split in the store when the Town Council called for a 80% / 20% split to limit the effect felt by the High St non-food retailers"

Concerns Placated, Concerns Remain
Today, Ceredigion County Council’s Planning Committee dealt with the application once more and I was pleased to see that the Environment Agency Wales objections have now been removed. This is because Sainsbury's have for the time being, removed the petrol pump station from the application. They had an opportunity to move it to another part of the development so as to placate the Environment Agency's concerns but instead decided to remove it completely at this stage. This doesn't preclude them from putting a new application in, in the future for a petrol pump station so this may well only be a delay on their part with this.

But what it meant is that the Environment Agency have, with conditions, given their approval and this is to be welcomed.

My second point that I raised in February's meeting however has not been allayed. The proposed food and non-food split for the new supermarket remains at 65% and 35% and not the more reasonable split proposed by the Town Council of 80%-20%. I raised the concern of the Town Council and of local High St traders to this in this morning's meeting as a larger percentage of non-food retail in the new Sainsbury's could have a more detrimental impact on the town centre. Unfortunately however, whilst these concerns were noted, the 65%-35% split remains.

Green Light to Go for Bath-House and Sainsbury's
So, when it came to the vote, after years of debate and discussions and disagreement and after meetings after meetings after meetings, it was agreed by those voting members of the committee (as I'm not a member of the Planning Committee, I didn't have a vote) this morning, to support the recommendation of giving the planning officers the powers to approve the application once final conditions have been confirmed.

Indeed, the recommendation was supported unanimously.

So after years of debate and disagreement in town about this controversial plan, today, May 11th 2011 would seem to me to be the day when Bath-House was given the 'green light to go'. I still have concerns regarding the development as mentioned above so I will be keeping a keen eye on developments over the weeks and months ahead.

1 comment:

  1. I have become a convert to Sainsbury's in the last couple of years. Indeed, I was at the Thornhill, Cardiff store on Wednesday. The modern stores look very pleasing on the eye.

    Its a shame that in Pembrokeshire, we still have a small store in Tenby and I look forward to a proper store opening in due course. I hope!

    I dislike Tesco's intensely and I could not help but smile at the recent problems they faced in Stokes Croft in Bristol.

    Not content with killing off the High Street, now they want to kill off the back street stores with their own small stores.

    The fact they tried to prevent Sainsbury's application in Cardigan just shows what a disgrace they are to competition as they won't be happy until they have killed off all the competition and the High Street.

    I hardly go into a Tesco store and when I do, I find them to be expensive!

    I certainly hope to go into the Cardigan store, when I am up your way, in my work.