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New Lawnside plan to be put forward?
12:44pm Friday 6th December 2013 in News
A REVAMPED plan for the Lawnside area of Ledbury is on the cards.
A proposal to develop a 30,000 sq ft superstore on the site has created much debate in the town.
Now Halo Leisure, which runs Ledbury Swimming Pool at Lawnside, has confirmed it is in talks with a supermarket developer.
The outcome could be fresh development proposals for Lawnside and a new pool for Ledbury at another location still to be decided.
Philip King of PLK Properties, the company with ambitions to build a supermarket, said that he had been seeking pre-application advice from Herefordshire Council and he was engaged in talks with the swimming pool operator.
If all goes to plan, and a suitable scheme is agreed, public consultation on the new proposals could start as early as next month.
Mr King said: “The consultation could come the other side of Christmas, if I have a scheme I can work with, between now and Christmas.”
“Following our initial presentation to Ledbury Town Council in August we have listened to informal feedback from a number of parties which have been helpful. As a result we have consulted with the planning authority to seek pre application advice which has helped direct our design focus.
“When we have completed this exercise we will engage in a proper and thorough consultation exercise with all interested parties in the coming months.
“We cannot at this stage predict when and if a planning application will be submitted.”
The proposals previously submitted for Lawnside would lead to the demolition of the swimming pool, community centre, youth club, fire station and former ambulance station. Under that plan, a new joint swimming pool, community centre and youth club complex would be built at the Orchard Lane end of the recreation ground, together with an outdoor multi-use games area.
Halo Leisure runs the pool on behalf of Herefordshire Council.
Jon Argent, chief executive of Halo, said: “We are in talks with PLK Properties, as part of an options appraisal.
“It is right to explore the options. I am wedded to having the best service we can get for the people of Ledbury.”
Coun Peter Watts, a Herefordshire councillor for Ledbury and a trustee of Halo Leisure said: “It could be the refurbishment of the pool, forecast for the end of 2014, or we could end up with a new pool.”
He said that if the pool were to be taken away from Lawnside, a new pool, on another location in town, would have to be up and running before development of Lawnside could start.
Herefordshire Council planning officer Roland Close confirmed the council has provided “very detailed, confidential preapplication advice” to PLK Properties, based on the supermarket proposal made to Ledbury Town Council last summer.
Concerning the swimming pool, he said: “Herefordshire Council has a policy to safeguard community facilities, and if they are to be replaced, they have to be in an equally suitable location.
“Any development of that site must retain the existing community facilities or replace them with equally good if not better facilities.”
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