Wednesday 19 November 2014

Another super white elephant

The Tivyside Adverstiser is reporting what many people have long suspected: that Sainsbury's is scrapping plans to open a large new store in Cardigan.

Despite local opposition, planning permission for the site was granted in 2008 and several million pounds were ploughed into getting it ready for the development. A huge raised platform was built to accommodate the store on the Bathhouse site a short distance from the town centre, and a new road system was built, complete with roundabouts and signs.

This was a greenfield site, and mature trees were felled to make way for the supermarket. For months on end HGVs laden with rock and soil trundled through the High Street. A councillor who opposed the development found himself having to answer charges of breaching the code of conduct.

And then nothing.

Sainsbury's blamed the delays on problems with land stability, something which the Tivyside notes came as no surprise to people who knew the lie of the land.

The supermarket group nevertheless remained adamant that this was all just a temporary glitch and that the store would open. Deadlines came and went.

The new road system became a handy car park for people wishing to avoid exorbitant charges for council car parks, until recently when it was classed as an urban freeway and traffic wardens started ticketing vehicles on the otherwise empty roads.

Bizarrely, the freeway ends just a few metres from a busy junction, and you may park on the junction for free without risk of a fine.

The development is supposed to include a new hospital, something which has also been delayed. It is not clear what impact the supermarket group's decision will have on the plans for a new hospital, but to quote a local farmer who farmed the land, "I'll be amazed if they manage to build a hospital on the bog".

A thousand years from now archeologists will probably scratch their heads over what the gigantic Bathhouse platform and road system were for. An obscure religious cult, perhaps.


Jac o' the North, said...

There was a piece on Newsnight earlier in the week reporting that supermarkets are abandoning plans for big out-of-town stores. Worth watching.

m1books said...

Let's hope they are abandoning large in-town stores as well, such as NCE with its contaminated land, over loaded and ancient sewage/water system and its entrance location perilously close to a busy T junction. Let alone the narrow high street, currently frequently jammed with delivery vehicles. But with Aldi on a high and offering an alternative choice next year maybe that will influence any other players. But the Sainsbury saga in Cardigan highlights yet again the absurdity of many planning decisions in our rural communities and the inevitable conclusion of smokescreens and 'behind closed doors'. The most sensible thing now would be to refurbish the hospital as it was, a true community facility which everyone wants and make Sainsburys pay for it with compensation for all their faffing about over the last 5 years.

Cneifiwr said...

Hear hear! I remember talking to someone a few years back who had worked as a nurse in Cardigan Hospital in the early 1960s. There were plans even back then to build a new hospital.

It is tragic to see the building being allowed to fall into disrepair.

Redhead said...

We have a massively over-size Tesco store which is practically empty most of the time. However, it's size has ensured that if ever an Aldi or Lidl is suggested, Tesco hit back and say the town is already up to maxinum retail space.

Nothing that they promised in S 106 has been built on the adjacent land that they own either.

Heads they win, tails they win.