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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

KLS chair hits out at planners

Local planning authorities “run scared of corporates and their highly paid professional advisors” and fail to protect independent local businesses as they did when granting planning consent for an out-of-town Sainsbury's supermarket, to the detriment of Llangollen town centre.  

That is the view of Mike Edwards, chair of Keep Llangollen Special (KLS). 

He was reacting to a new report that says the Welsh planning system should be focused on economic development and not climate change or affordable housing.

The report, from newly launched think tank Gorwel, claims that discussions about planning have too often centred on issues that Wales cannot address on its own and much more should be done to drive the economy forward.

Evidence of the failure of the planning system to help local businesses can been seen, authors Steve Belzak and Russell Deacon claim, in the “increasing homogenisation of town centres” and the development of “out-of-town retail centres dominated by large, often multinational corporations”.

Mr Edwards said: “In their panic to avoid a costly planning enquiry local planning authorities ignore Planning Policy Wales and fall down in front of speculative property developers and corporate supermarkets. 

“Building out of town increases traffic journeys and is not environmentally friendly. Wales needs to give priority to town centres and independent Welsh businesses and support the employment and income generation from shops and local suppliers.  

“This keeps money recirculating in local economies to the community's benefit, whereas supermarkets export money out of local economies to corporate HQs mainly in the South of England. 

“Elected representatives need to stand up for local businesses and the employment they provide and not encourage corporate businesses and the low-paid part time work they offer whilst exploiting local communities and suppliers.”

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