Monday, February 22, 2010

Good Day for Newtown

This lady's name is Anne Lewis. She's the face of the Wales Air Ambulance in Montgomeryshire. Today she was busy 'cutting the ribbon' at the official opening of the new Tesco supermarket in Newtown. I haven't used the full photograph because it was stuffed full of Liberal Democrats! Nice cheque from Tesco though.

I arrived too late for the official tape-cutting, because of a mighty traffic hold-up - caused in my opinion by the utterly ridiculous traffic lights that have been erected in place of a roundabout nearby - a condition of the planning application. What was really funny was that one of the journalists was so snarled up in the jam that he parked in Morrison's Supermarket, and walked to Tesco's. If Morrison's had known, he'd have been clamped. Mrs D came along with me, and while I was hob-knobbing, she checked out the store. And daughter-in-law, Adrienne checked it out later. Big thumbs up. So its 'Shopper's delight, Motorist's nightmare'.

Speaking of Liberal Democrats, I learned today who the short listed candidates from which lamb buyer, Wyn Williams was chosen as their Assembly Candidate were. One was Gavin Cox, who is of a Welshpool family, and an experienced Lib Dem activist. He used to work for Mick in the Assembly. No surprise there. But Alison Davies was a bit of a surprise to me. For the last few years she has been very active in opposing wind farms in upland Wales. Now wouldn't that have been so very Lib Dem - replacing the most pro onshore wind farm person in Wales that I know, with the most anti onshore wind farm person I know. You just never know with the Lib Dems.

Other bit of good news for Newtown today was that Shops Direct, the Call Centre business based at the Pryce Jones Building has postponed its closure (and the loss of 180 jobs) from end of June to December - more chance to find a buyer. I had the news from the Mayor, Cllr. Joy Jones, who has been active in pressing the company to be sympathetic. And they listened. Now I well understand why. I always listen to Joy as well. Whatever, its got to be good news for Newtown.


ROMAN JONES Esq. said...

I was under the impression the roundabout was removed not because of Tesco, but for transporting wind turbines through Newtown in the future. Both reasons are lunacy.

Can't say I've ever heard of Wyn Williams, and hopefully won't do so in the future.

JB said...


I suppose we'd better brace ourselves for a CT headline "LEMBIT SAVES NEWTOWN".

I notice that in Parliament he implied that Joy Jones and Richard White were merely helping him. Still Peter Hain thinks he's pretty wonderful - that says it all!

As for the traffic lights I fear that this time ROMAN is right. Is there no end to the insanity surrounding this project.

Glyn Davies said...

Roman - I'm not sure that this is true. Am making some enquiries about it. I'm sure it is true that the lights have been designed to accommodate wind farm traffic, but I cannot see why a flattened roundabout couldn't have done that.

JB - I suppose so, but that's one of the joys of being the MP!! I know this is only a six months 'stay of execution' but it does give more time to find a buyer. I just think its good news, and I'm happy to leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

Actually, like everyone else ( apart from the County Lies of course ) Peter Vain thinks Lembit Opik is a complete prat. Once again, LO will try and deceive and con the electorat, but the mask is beginning to slip big time.

ROMAN JONES Esq. said...

JB - right this time? I'm always right!

Anonymous said...

why is it that on here your readers have to slate Lembit so much??

Even when he does do the job he's supposed to be doing he's criticised.....

Anonymous said...

Anon - 10.08am. Could be because Lembit Opik's ridiculous and embarrassing behaviour plus his craving for celebrity, outweighs any "good" he may have done.

andyb said...

Hi Glyn,

The traffic chaos due to Tesco's is an interesting event. I would expect Powys County Council to be at fault for allowing a major traffic attracting development such as Tesco's to be permitted on a Trunk road in a location where the road is already near to full capacity.

However it seems that the A483 is a trunk road and therefore the responsibility of Welsh Assembly Government and not Powys County Council. Looking at old news articles it seems to me that WAG ran the whole affair using Powys to do the leg-work.

I therefore hope that Powys County Council do not get the blame for any resulting increase in traffic levels on the A483. out of the two, those in PCC mostly live locally and would be genuinely foolish to not anticipate problems. For WAG, well they live further afield so a lack of understanding of local traffic issues might be excusable, unless of course PCC told them repeatedly that it would be a problem. Is this possible? It would explain a lot of things.

By the way, where has the money gone from the sale of the land to Tesco's?

We have yet to see if the final part of the Tescos traffic management plan (SCOOT) will help.

There is no doubt that there will be more traffic in the area because of Tescos, there is no doubt that the road and junction was very busy before Tesco's opened, let alone with extra traffic to accomodate.

I hope the tourist trade from the Midlands travelling via Newtown to the Welsh Coast have sufficient patience to tolerate any extra delays each friday in part due to our strange method of governance in Mid Wales.

Where is the by-pass? It should have been built years ago. Newtown is at the crossroads of Mid Wales, how can the area develop if it does not have a 21st century road network?

How on earth can WAG think it acceptable to consider using the same road and junction to facilitate the construction traffic from several wind farms to get to site? They must be completely mad!

ROMAN JONES Esq. said...

Because LO only joins a cause when he can see good publicity flowing from it. He then produces literature claiming how he single-handed saved 'whatever' it was. If he's so opposed to school closures, do you not think he could have had stronger words with his own LibDem councillors who want to keep school closures on the table? Maybe he should unleash Mick Bates on them to soften them up first?

frankie said...

Thought I'd try out Tesco's in Newtown this morning - really nothing special, rather cold and impersonal I felt.

Actually I never shop in Newtown as a rule, much prefer Welshpool, so won't bother again. And yes. there was a bit of traffic chaos going on, so I turned right towards Welshpool to get home to Llanfair as the left turn at the traffic lights seemd grid-locked.

Is the planned Tesco's for Welshpool going to be as vast as the Newtown one I wonder?

Anonymous said...

Anon, donot be conned by Lembit Grope-it. If you lived in this area you would totally understand why we all regard his as an embarrassing joke. He has HUGE lifestyle issues, another addiction of his is publicity, he "writes" for a prono rag, lives in a moral vacuum, thinks it's ok to go off on a PAID cruise whils parliament is sitting, makes ludicrous expenses claims.....Need I go on? And btw, this is me holding back. The man is a total sham and a dangerous one to boot

Russ George said...

AndyB is right, its the WAG to blame here, see my letter to Deputy First Minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones AM

Anonymous said...

Don't be fooled by pro-Powys CC contributers here, other than those who supported Tesco as a way of bringing forward the much needed by-pass (increasing traffic levels to such an extent that the capital investment becomes a necessity). The former Chief Executive at Powys was obviously fixated by Tesco, driving through proposals at Newtown and Welshpool and enticing them to Machynlleth of all places. The Welshpool Tesco at least enabled the relocation and provision of a modern new Smithfield at Buttington. But there are other shopping developments planned alongside which will draw trade away from Welshpool town centre as this new Tescoville becomes the dominant retail area of Welshpool. How long will it be before our (top class) fishmonger, our butchers, chemists and clothing shops fall to the cheap price slash and burn tactics of this retail giant? The turnover of shops at Holhead following the new Tesco store there in 1997 has fallen by 30%. As for Newtown, the only reason why Tesco has arrived at such an unsustainable location is the capital receipts received by Powys. I understand that the developer behind the Welshpool Tesco and Smithfield tried unsuccessfully to build a new supermarket in the heart of Newtown on a site adjoining the Back Lane car park but was thwarted by Powys who was handling their own planning application on Welshpool Road at much the same time and where they were to reap a huge capital receipt. Why didn't the Welsh Assembly Government intervene and call-in the two Newtown planning applications I wonder? So we now have an out of town superstore creating traffic hazards and disruption, which does nothing for Newtown. The planners have succeded in allowing excessively sized superstores which will damage the local economy and draw retail trade from our two important town centres. There are examples of the impacts arising from the introduction of Tesco to other similar sized market towns (see just one article at: )
Lets see what happens but I forecast that Welshpool Town Centre will slowly turn into charity shops and the main shopping destination at Welshpool will be the new Tescoville on the former livestock market. This will be empasised still further as the one-way traffic system directs traffic to Tescoville at the expense of the town centre. At Newtown there will be ongoing traffic difficulties which may force the Welsh Assembly to deliver the by-pass but then Newtown Town Centre will become just a Local Centre serving Newtown residents. Tesco and Morrisons on the Welshpool Road and on the doorstep of the by-pass will serve visitors and shoppers from wider afield.

Ger Henorsaf said...

I make no apologies from posting this statement which appeared in the Telegraph:
"I am a livestock farmer. Two days ago, I sat down and listed the names of all farmers in our immediate part of Dorset in business in 1997. The list was just under 40 names long. Today, the list is only 20 long. Of those 18 or so that have given up, 12 were dairy farmers. All UK dairy farmers produce a high quality product that is sold by the supermarkets as a commodity. Whilst the remaining dairy farmers in our area have got bigger, which in part compensates for the loss of the smaller farms, the loss in total output from this same area is around 30%-40%. As it is with dairy, so it will become with other parts of agriculture. And gradually, we will import more and more of our food. Not a good policy if you consider the impact of rising world population and food prices in, say, 20 years time. It is not just Tesco that is to blame. Virtually all the big supermarkets (with the exception of Waitrose) have buying policies which squeeze the producer or processor until they go out of business. Many of the processors try to pass the reduction in prices down the chain until it reaches the farmer. And this explains, in part, the appalling loss of farmers over the last decade. To those enthusiastic supermarket supporters, just remember that every time they advertise low prices, someone's much smaller business is actually paying for them. Rarely do the supermarkets actually reduce their own profit margins to benefit the consumer. On another note, of those original 40 farming families, there have been about 3 divorces and one suicide. The younger members of three families have emigrated to New Zealand and Ireland. We are losing the very lifeblood of the most basic industry of all."
Yet another aspect of relevance to Mid Wales.