Row brewing over stores

New re­tail park shops spark de­bate

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - Ian Lewis @IanLewis80 [email protected]­ 07790 591150

SU­PER­MAR­KET chain Aldi wants to open a new store in Llanelli along with a Costa Cof­fee drive-thru.

Plans lodged with Car­marthen­shire Coun­cil seek per­mis­sion for a new store just north of Parc Trostre Re­tail Park.

The land is cur­rently just over four acres, unused and va­cant and sits to the back of Tesco Ex­tra, be­tween the B4304 and A484.

A re­port within the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion by build­ing projects com­pany Ken­dall Kingscott Lim­ited states the aim is to de­velop land that is “cur­rently of no use to the lo­cal com­mu­nity” and to “bring new jobs to the area.”

Both the Aldi store and Costa Cof­fee shop and drive-thru will be sep­a­rate build­ings served by a 168 space car park, 40 for the cof­fee shop and 128 for the store.

How­ever, ques­tions have been raised about the plans be­cause Llanelli town cen­tre al­ready has an Aldi store at Swan­field Place and a Costa Cof­fee branch at East­gate.

Busi­ness lead­ers are ea­ger to know the full ex­tent of the plans and if Aldi in­tends to keep its Swan­field Place branch open if plans are ap­proved for the out of town store at Trostre.

Pres­i­dent of Llanelli Cham­ber of Trade, David Darkin said: “I’ve spo­ken to a few mem­bers of the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity who don’t know whether Aldi are plan­ning a move or a sec­ond store.

“I cer­tainly hope that this is a sec­ond store rather than a move as I know the town cen­tre store is well used by lo­cal res­i­dents who can eas­ily pop in on foot to do their shop­ping; an out of town store is not so con­ve­nient.

“How­ever, on the pos­i­tive side, it shows that Aldi do see their fu­ture in Llanelli and are in­vest­ing in the town.”

Peo­ple were also quick to raise con­cerns on so­cial me­dia over the plans, ar­gu­ing the cur­rent Aldi store is in a prime lo­ca­tion and any clo­sure in favour of an out of town store would be fool­ish.

Writ­ing on Face­book, Clare Bowen-Dunne sim­ply asked: “Do we re­ally need two Aldi stores?”

While Janet Rachel Wil­liams was con­cerned at the pro­posal, adding: “All the stores that have gone to Trostre have even­tu­ally closed the in-town store.

“Out of town shops have caused the sad de­cline in town cen­tres and com­mu­nity spirit be­comes lost as well.

“I re­mem­ber when Llanelli was a very vi­brant shop­ping cen­tre. Not all change is for the bet­ter.”

Lorna Jones said Aldi should be clear over the town store, adding: “Will they guar­an­tee to keep the other one open? It can be walked to by a large num­ber of lo­cal peo­ple.”

Kris­tian Thomas said the ad­di­tion of an­other Aldi store on the edge of town was “con­cern­ing if any­thing.

“It’s less and less rea­son for peo­ple to call into town and there’s so much com­mu­nity ef­fort to draw them back.”

Aldi has wanted to open a sec­ond store in Llanelli for some time and con­sid­ers the site ad­ja­cent to the Trostre Re­tail Park to be ideal. Aldi’s pop­u­lar­ity con­tin­ues to grow, a re­cent sur­vey by The Gro­cer high­lighted that Aldi is win­ning more loyal cus­tomers than any other su­per­mar­ket. An Aldi spokesman said: “This is great news and we are con­fi­dent that Llanelli and the lo­cal area can sup­port two stores. Th­ese pro­pos­als would bring a long va­cant site eco­nomic use. A new store would re­sult in ap­prox­i­mately 40 new jobs, while also en­abling fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties on the rest of the site.”

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