Thursday, December 21, 2006

Supermarket Sense in Powys

I hear that the National Assembly for Wales has 'called in' the planning application for a Tesco supermarket on the old livestock market in Newtown. I also hear that the new Supermarket proposed by Lidl in the town has been given the go ahead.

I think that the National Assembly has taken the right decision in both cases. The public's concern about Powys County Council dealing with a planning application which would deliver £7 million pounds for the Council itself, was fully justified. The Council has a big financial interest. The Council dealing with this application itself simply did not look right. Perhaps the Council will now be free to get on with dealing with the other planning application which have been lying in its in-tray for months - including the supermarket proposal at Welshpool.

I also think it is right that the National Assembly should not interfere in the Lidl application in Newtown - although I am not wholly convinced that this is right for town. The Council have dealt with the Lidl application and decided to approve it (after months of delay) - so I am prepared to accept the Council's judgement. Actually, I do not think that the Council had much alternative but to approve it.

Where I most strongly object is when the Council just delay and delay rather than deal with controversial applications - just hoping that they will go away. The councillors and officers have a duty to take tough decisions - which is what they get paid for.

Update : This blog is keen to post accurate information - but I was misinformed about the National Assembly decision on the Tesco application in Newtown. The application has not been 'called in'. However it remains subject to a 'holding notice' while the Assembly Government considers whether it should be 'called in'. I remain of the view that it should.

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