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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Supermarket campaigner demands answer from Minister

Campaigner Martin Crumpton has written to Wales’ Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development asking why he has not yet replied to a letter sent to him in June this year in connection with the proposed Sainbury’s supermarket in Llan.
Mr Crumpton, who has spearheaded the fight against the new store planned for the Dobson & Crowther printworks site off the A5, is asking John Griffiths AM why he has not responded to the question whether or not  the Co-op store in Regent Street is to be considered as part of the Llangollen’s retail offering  when it comes to considering the need for the new Sainsbury’s.
This point, claims Mr Crumpton, is of critical importance to the determination of the store application next month.
Here is Mr Crumpton’s letter to Mr Griffiths  in full: 

  Dear Minister,
On the 20th of June this year, I wrote to you requesting a determination on whether or not the Co-operative Food store in Llangollen should be considered part of the Town Centre or not. You’re aware that the developer has claimed it is only a top-up shop, out of the “defined town centre” and therefore excluded from their calculation of retail sales area. They also excluded Stans Superstores, a smaller supermarket which opened in February this year, though it is adjacent to the High Street. On the basis of these exclusions, the developer has claimed a need for additional retail space in Llangollen.
I have already provided incontrovertible proof that the Co-op is the town’s closest and largest store for the majority of residents. Better than hundreds of dry words, I provided a link to the video I produced. In case you’ve been unable to watch it, it’s here: (it only takes six minutes).
The Co-operative Group has been reluctant to reveal commercially-sensitive information, but they’ve been persuaded to by Cadnant Planning, acting on their behalf. WYG, for the developer, and Roger Tym and Partners acting for Denbighshire County Council, has grossly understated the impact upon the store (at least 43%) and that is it a main shopping food store, unlike both WYG’s and RTP’s dismissive claims otherwise. Being the shopper for my family, I’ve always known this, but now there’s proof – it’s attached in the report by Cadnant Planning (attached).
Neither WGY nor RTP have ever taken into account the impact on the community, most especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the disabled, and those without private transport. It is an established fact that the proposed new supermarket is a vehicle-only destination to all but a very few, contradicting national planning policy.
Minister, I wrote to you on the 20th of June but I’ve never received a reply. Mark Isherwood expressed an interest in your response, and you wrote to him, but he only received mention of my earlier call-in request.
Neither he nor I have received correspondence concerning the matter I raised with you on 20th June, being, essentially, whether or not the Co-op should be included in the Retail Impact Assessment.
Minister, your adjudication on whether the Co-op store is to be considered part of the Llangollen’s retail offering is of critical importance. Even without it, Denbighshire County Council is without a robust, credible and acceptable Retail Impact Assessment. Were the Planning Committee to meet on the 18th of September, just weeks away, without being properly advised of the importance of this store and the impact upon the residents were it to be so detrimental, an approval for the new development must be considered unsound.
I urge you to watch the video and read Cadnant Planning’s comments, and come to a decision.
With kind regards,
Martin Crumpton


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