Friday, January 04, 2008

Big day for Welshpool

For the last year and more, the Local Planning Authority has been considering a planning application that will transform the town of Welshpool, in Mid Wales. Essentially it involves relocating the livestock market out of the town and building a retailing park on the existing market site - in other words a new major supermarket. It also involves redesigning the town's parking provision and the traffic system. I've supported the principle of this development since it was first proposed, because without the supermarket, there is not enough money available to build the new livestock market. The only aspect that concerns me is that it should be a 'quality' supermarket. A Tesco would do nicely.

This morning the Montgomeryshire Committee of the Powys Planning Committee (which will take the final decision on January 22nd), decided to back the scheme. This is a real big deal for Welshpool, a town which serves as the 'gateway' to Mid Wales. Its taken a long time to reach today's position. I hope that there are no more hiccups - especially the theory that I've heard that the 'quality' supermarkets will not see it as viable. This argument has become weaker of late as the proposals for a Tesco at nearby Newtown seems to have run into the buffers because of fears about impact on the through traffic. The sidelining of Mid Wales by the National Assembly and its refusal to make any progress with a Newtown bypass is blighting the town. It really isn't good enough. Newtown people are going to be very cross when they realise that their town is losing out to Welshpool because of the absence of a bypass. But I am pleased that we are making some real progress at last in preventing the 'leakage' of spend from Mid Wales to Shropshire. A good news day indeed.

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