Row brewing over stores
New retail park shops spark debate
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.”