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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Row over store plan goes to the Minister

Council chiefs have been accused of “overturning” conditions intended to protect small traders from a new superstore planned for Llangollen. 

The charge comes from Martin Crumpton, a researcher for the campaign group Keep Llangollen Special, in a strongly-worded letter he has sent to Denbighshire’s planning committee chairman, Cllr Dewi Owens, Wales’s Environment Minister John Griffiths and the Local Government Ombudsman. 

Mr Crumpton says that at the county’s September planning committee when the new store on the Dobson & Crowther site at Berwyn Street was approved,  a set of conditions were imposed which meant it could not have an in-store butchers or delicatessen in order to protect Llangollen’s high street businesses. 

But he claims these two conditions have since been overturned by planning officials.  

Mr Crumpton said:  “There is no evidence that Sainsbury’s had even asked for these conditions to be lifted. 

“The reason given by planning officers in an e-mail to me was that they would be a ‘wholly unreasonable limitation on the operation of a modern foodstore’. 

“The only conditions remaining are that Sainsbury’s cannot have a third-party butcher or deli counter on its premises, but are free to run their own. “ 

He added:  “Sainsbury’s have since appealed against other conditions, notably the no cafĂ© restriction, and from the reason given above, it seems likely that planning officers will recommend removing this restriction too when the matter reappears at the next suitable planning committee meeting.  

“Despite being national planning policy to protect high streets from supermarket domination, Denbighshire has not yet adopted the new Local Development Plan, which would incorporate these policies. 

“It still adheres to the 13-year-old Unitary Development Pan, which expired last year, and has no such protections built into it.” 

A spokesperson for the county council said:  “We respect the concerns expressed over the process of drafting conditions on the planning permission for the foodstore on the Dobson and Crowther site, and we have responded directly to the individuals raising them.

“The statement that the conditions have been 'overturned by planning officials' and that there are 'irregularities in the determination of this application' are strongly refuted, and will be dealt with through the appropriate complaints process.

“Officers and both the two local members, who are on the planning committee, have followed the resolution of planning committee in September, which was that the amended conditions would be agreed in consultation with the local members.
 “The new planning application seeking variations to the wording of other conditions on the planning permission is a separate matter, and is currently the subject of a formal consultation exercise.
“This has to be dealt with on its own merits, and will be considered by planning committee in due course - having regard to the policies of the council's Development Plan, national guidance, and any comments which may be received.
·        The new planning application is reference number is 03/2012/1407 and is available for viewing at Llangollen Public Library, or online at

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