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Friday, September 14, 2012

Store and factory plans recommended for approval

* Dobson & Crowther factory on the A5 - site of the proposed Sainsbury's foodstore. 

llanblogger exclusive

County council officers are recommending members of Denbighshire’s planning committee to give the go-ahead to a controversial scheme for a new Sainsbury’s supermarket in Llangollen.

At its meeting next Wednesday, the committee is also being advised by its experts to grant a linked application to transfer the Dobson & Crowther envelope factory, on whose land the foodstore would be built, to a new site on farmland just up the road. 

Both plans have caused a deep rift in the community, with rival groups supporting or opposing them. 

Separate reports to the committee from the council’s head of planning and public protection Graham Boase detail the responses to consultation on the applications, which have both been submitted by Scott J Ross Developments. 

* The Cilmedw Farm site proposed for the new factory. 

Jobs claim


The supermarket scheme, which is claimed will create up to 109 full-time equivalent jobs, would mean a foodstore of 1,858 square metres being built on Dobson & Crowther’s four-acre site off Berwyn Street, the main A5 through the town. 

Objections to it have gone in to the council from organisations such as Llangollen Civic Society and the pressure group Keep Llangollen Special, which produced a DVD film outlining its views and organised online and on-paper petitions containing hundreds of names. 

Opposition has also been voiced by a total of 21 individuals. 

Main objections revolve around the adverse impact a new foodstore would have on local independent shops, its visual impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the creation of noise and extra traffic. 

The number of jobs to be created at the proposed store is also questioned by the objectors. 

Supporters of the scheme included 21 individuals and Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates. 

They sent in letters of support and a petition containing 347 signatures. 

Those in favour of it claim the store would fulfil Llangollen’s need for a “decent affordable place to shop without having to travel to Wrexham or Oswestry. 

They also point to the boost it would give to local employment. 

A number of interested organisations offered no objection, including the Town Council and Llangollen Chamber of Trade and Tourism. 

Retail consultants acting for the council say that while there is a “qualitative” need for a new foodstore, they are unable to conclude there was a “quantitive” need and that it is “difficult to assess” whether the impact on local trade would warrant a refusal of permission. 

However, the consultants suggest conditions are imposed to prevent the store including a pharmacy, post office, dry cleaners and cafĂ©. 

In his report, which recommends the application is granted, planning chief Mr Boase says there are limited technical grounds for opposing the development as conditions can be imposed to address issues such as traffic generation and ecology. 

He adds the council’s consultants have advised there are “no strong retail planning policy grounds” for refusal. 

Mr Boase says there are “recognisable gains” for the development of a foodstore to benefit the public and that the scheme has “clear employment benefits”.

One condition of granting the application would that the applicants would make a contribution of £10,000 towards the improvement of nearby Riverside Park. 

Also recommended for granting is the separate scheme to relocate the envelope factory to 3.3 acres of land at Climedw Farm just 500 metres along Berwyn Street. 

Again, this has attracted significant numbers of responses both for and against the plan, with backers claiming it would safeguard 100 jobs at the company, which is the largest employer in Llangollen, and opponents pointing out its encroachment on to greenbelt land. 

In his report to the committee Mr Boase says: “Whilst acknowledging the potential impact on visual, historic landscape and heritage interests, which may only be capable of partial mitigation through the imposition of planning conditions, it is respectfully suggested that the employment arguments should carry significant weight in this instance.” 







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