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'We've been left in the dark over supermarket plans', says Ledbury Town Council
9:30am Friday 27th December 2013 in News
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.
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