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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Campaign group cannot speak on Sainsbury's plan

* The Dobson & Crowther site off the A5. 
Members of a local campaign group opposing the building of a 20,000 square foot Sainsbury’s supermarket in Llangollen are furious after being told they will be unable to speak against the application when it comes before county planners next week.

Keep Llangollen Special has just heard from Denbighshire County Council that its request to address the planning committee came in after all the four available public slots at the meeting had been filled.
The group’s chairman says he will now be writing to council chief executive Dr Mohammed Mehmet making a plea for them to be able to put their views forward on an issue which “so fundamentally” affects the future of the town.

The question of whether the supermarket should be built on land currently occupied by the Dobson & Crowther envelope factory off the A5 has split the town, with rival groups being set up to argue for and against the scheme.
It will be considered by the planning committee next Wednesday (September 19) along with a related application to move the factory to a new site at nearby Cilmedw Farm.
It is council policy to allow just two speakers for and two against an application but Keep Llangollen Special was told its request to air its views was received after all the slots were allocated.
Speaking in favour of the supermarket plan will be a representative of consultants representing the developer, J Ross Ltd, and John Palmer, chair of Llangollen Chamber of Trade.
Arguing against the scheme will be a consultant representing the nearby Co-operative food store and an official of Friends of the Earth.
The Cilmedw application will see two representatives from agents for the developer speaking in favour of it and representative of the Co-op store and a private individual speaking against.
A planning official from the county council has written to Mike Edwards, chair of Keep Llangollen Special, to say: “Please note that we deal with requests to speak on a first come, first
served basis. That being the case, unfortunately your request was received after we had fulfilled our slots of two for and two against each of the Llangollen applications.

“We have kept your name and that of a couple of others in order of receipt and should anyone drop out, we will contact you.
“It is our policy to encourage those wishing to speak at Planning Committee to speak to each other in order to ensure that all issues are covered.”
Mr Edwards said: “I intend to write to the chief executive and make a plea for us to be able to put our views forward before the committee take a decision of this nature which fundamentally affects the future of Llangollen.”
He revealed that if his group had been given a chance to speak at the meeting it intended to warn that the planned new store would hit small shops in Llangollen, leading to a “spiral of decline and decay” which would eventually affect the whole region, including tourism in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the World Heritage site around Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

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