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.
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 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.