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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

KLS drops plan for legal challenge over supermarket

A campaign group has given up on its plan to seek a judicial review of the way planning permission was given to a new Sainsbury’s supermarket in Llangollen.

Instead, Keep Llangollen Special (KLS) says it will now be concentrating on helping to promote independent businesses in the town.
For the past few months, the group has been looking into the possibility of having a High Court judge take a look at the circumstances behind the removal of a ban on a café being included in the 20,000 square foot store, which is earmarked for the site of the Dobson & Crowther printworks.
But KLS says it has now concluded that although it could well have a strong case, it will not go ahead with any legal challenge.
The decision comes after last week’s meeting of Llangollen Chamber of Trade and Tourism (LCT&T) when members said that although they backed the idea in principle, they could not support it financially.
In a statement issued yesterday (Monday), KLS chair Mike Edwards (pictured left) says: “We had a committee meeting on Friday night to discuss the letter received from LCT&T confirming their decision taken a week ago.
“Following a lengthy discussion we decided that despite having advice that Denbighshire CC's decision was fatally flawed legally on a number of counts, unfortunately without the full support of the independent businesses directly affected by this decision we were not prepared nor able to proceed with this legal action.
“We are very disappointed that having opposed the planning application since it was submitted last year the businesses are now not able to back our efforts to stop this development which threatens their livelihoods and the vitality and vibrancy of Llangollen town centre. There would be considerable work required to pursue a judicial review which the members of KLS are not prepared to commit to without the full backing of those affected.
“Recently our AM, Ken Skates gave his ‘moral support’ to this action, but regrettably the support which Mr. Skates, Councillor Stuart Davies and John Palmer, chair of LCT&T, gave to the application originally encouraged DCC to disregard Planning Policy Wales and grant the application.
“We have decided therefore to concentrate our constructive efforts going forward to promote the identity, image and brand of Llangollen by continuing with our monthly Buy Local Days and are also investigating a Llangollen savers’ discount card and businesssupport hub to assist local businesses and suppliers who have not embraced or do not have the resources to use the Internet and social media marketing to grow their businesses.
“We would hope that we can count on the support of the Town Council, local politicians, businesses and organisations in Llangollen and district to further these constructive initiatives.”
The statement adds: “It appears to us that there are numerous fragmented interests which need to be pulled together and coordinated to promote all the unique and special qualities that our town benefits from some of which may be lost.
“Independent businesses are continuing to face unequal competition from corporate business who extract money from our the local economy e.g. Sainsbury's predict, if they have their figures right, to export £18.4 million per annum out of Llangollen to their corporate HQ.
“What impact will that have on independent businesses if they are not assisted to compete on a level playing field with these corporate interests?”

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