Leominster superstores opposition group urges planners to "hold their nerve" ahead of committee in the new year (From Ledbury Reporter)
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Leominster superstores opposition group urges planners to "hold their nerve" ahead of committee in the new year
12:01pm Wednesday 18th December 2013 in News
COUNTY planners have been told to "hold their nerve" against developers hoping to build superstores in Leominster.
Herefordshire Council’s planning committee is expected to decide on proposals for major stores at Southern Avenue and Mill Street in the new year.
But the Friends of Leominster action group – which is opposing both plans – says it is concerned about “undue pressure” from developers.
The group cites the contents of a recent email from Morbaine director Barris Liptrott. His company is behind plans to build a supermarket on Southern Avenue.
In a letter to planning officer Andrew Banks, Mr Liptrott wrote “If our application is refused we will be lodging an appeal and you will of course be aware that each and every reason for refusal would need to be fully defendable if an award of costs is not made against Herefordshire Council.”
Friends of Leominster spokeswoman Joan Thwaites said: “Is it right that planning applicants can make such threats to a local council?
“In these difficult times when the council is facing acute financial problems the letter seems designed to scare councillors into supporting the planning application.
“We are calling on the council to hold its nerve and not cave in to undue pressure. If it abides firmly by national and local planning policy guidelines these two applications will be refused.”
The developers, in response, stated that no threats were intended.
Alex Brodie, managing director of Morbaine, claims the proposal is in line with government policy – which currently shows a preference for development.
“If we are refused we believe we have a very strong case that we will go to appeal,” he said.
“The silent majority are just that. We don’t want to put a store in Leominster for nothing, we know there will be a market.
“It’s a natural fight – we have invested a lot of time and effort for three to four years. A lot goes into it.”
Objectors are being urged to make their views known to members of the county planning committee. Contact details are available from firstname.lastname@example.org
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