'We've been left in the dark over supermarket plans', says Ledbury Town Council

Ledbury Reporter: Ledbury mayor Terry Widdows is leading calls for more transparency over the plans Ledbury mayor Terry Widdows is leading calls for more transparency over the plans

THE superstore debate which has raged in Ledbury this year shows no sign of abating as 2014 beckons.

Now Ledbury Town Council says it is being “left in the dark” over plans to build a supermarket at Lawnside Road.

Town mayor, Terry Widdows, and other councillors, who are calling for greater transparency from PLK Properties, the company seeking to build there.

PLK is seeking confidential pre-application planning advice from Herefordshire Council.

The final outcome could be a different proposal to that which was revealed to the town council last summer, which involved a 30,000 sq foot superstore.

Philip King, of PLK, said currently he was only willing to talk to the town council behind closed doors, to discuss “options”.

Coun Widdows said: “Once again, we are being kept in the dark as to what is going on.”

Coun Martin Eager said: “At what stage are we as a town council going to get involved on discussions about Lawnside?”

Coun Clive Jupp said it was clear Herefordshire Council was being approached by Mr King because the authority owned property at Lawnside, such as the car park and the swimming pool.

But Coun Jupp said the town council was also a landowner of the recreation ground and it had not been contacted. “It is absolutely disgusting,” he said.

Mr King’s initial proposal was for a superstore at Lawnside. It would require the demolition of existing community buildings such as the community centre and youth centre, and the re-siting of the swimming pool to the recreation ground.

Coun Liz Harvey said Mr King’s silence towards the town council should not have come as a surprise, because the council had already agreed in the summer not to talk to Mr King, except in a public meeting.

She said: “My understanding is that we have been very clear on this matter. The silence from him reflects that situation.”

Mr King said: “My position is that I would like to hold discussions with the town council, but such discussions should not be initially in public, so that we can then talk about the options that may be available.”

He said he would, at some stage, meet the town council in public as part of the “full public consultation process”.

But Mr King added: “I am not ready, because I am still putting together the pieces of a very complicated development.”

The public consultation will come when the plan is ready but Mr King could not say when that would be because this depended on talks with third parties such as Herefordshire Council and Halo Leisure, which operates the swimming pool for the authority.

Comments (1)

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6:05pm Sat 28 Dec 13

Rosemary Thyme says...

What goes around generally comes around and I cannot help but think that there are several rather outspoken objectors of the original plans for a new supermarket development on the outskirts of the town who are now going to realise that the grass rarely is greener on the other side and that they, in time are going to feel a rather large kick up the backside.

Never a secret that HCCs preferred option was a Lawnside development the loud and rather strongly opinionated objectors to Sainsburys may well be now playing a major part, indirectly or not in the demise of Ledbury town centre as we know it as the PLK plans increase in momentum and direction, after all itb was they who preached and prophecised about retail development within the Lawnside area.

Lawnside will, I believe change and bring us the new supermarket and with it the choice, diversity and pricing that Ledbury folk need and likely some shopkeepers will suffer - adopt and adapt is what I say and good luck to PLK, of course I wouldn't be saying this if LOOTS and its followers had allowed themselves to see the trees through the woods - cannot help but smile as I see some of their rather vociferous followers choking at the thought of Mr King and their efforts in trying to pooh pooh the very ideas that they themselves offered up as a viable notion when Sainsburys originally made their intent known.

As I said - what goes around comes around and sometimes you have to be careful for what you wish for, the devil we knew as a Sainsbury devlopment on the edge of town is a far more acceptable option to seeing our town centre desecrated.
What goes around generally comes around and I cannot help but think that there are several rather outspoken objectors of the original plans for a new supermarket development on the outskirts of the town who are now going to realise that the grass rarely is greener on the other side and that they, in time are going to feel a rather large kick up the backside. Never a secret that HCCs preferred option was a Lawnside development the loud and rather strongly opinionated objectors to Sainsburys may well be now playing a major part, indirectly or not in the demise of Ledbury town centre as we know it as the PLK plans increase in momentum and direction, after all itb was they who preached and prophecised about retail development within the Lawnside area. Lawnside will, I believe change and bring us the new supermarket and with it the choice, diversity and pricing that Ledbury folk need and likely some shopkeepers will suffer - adopt and adapt is what I say and good luck to PLK, of course I wouldn't be saying this if LOOTS and its followers had allowed themselves to see the trees through the woods - cannot help but smile as I see some of their rather vociferous followers choking at the thought of Mr King and their efforts in trying to pooh pooh the very ideas that they themselves offered up as a viable notion when Sainsburys originally made their intent known. As I said - what goes around comes around and sometimes you have to be careful for what you wish for, the devil we knew as a Sainsbury devlopment on the edge of town is a far more acceptable option to seeing our town centre desecrated. Rosemary Thyme

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