THE decision to approve plans for a giant Sainsbury’s supermarket in Newport have been slammed as a financial quick fix whipped up by Labour councillors.
The leader of the Save Newport campaign, David Parker said it was ‘embarrassing’ that Telford & Wrekin’s six Labour members had flown in the face of democracy and approved the scheme for a 50,000sq ft supermarket on green land next to Station Road.
Mr Parker said: “It’s embarrassing that the Labour councillors have been whipped into this decision. “Where is the democracy? The decision was pre-determined and has been made for short-term financial gain. It’s appalling.”
More than 130 angry objectors jeered and booed on Wednesday night as the members voted in favour of the proposal put forward by developers St Modwen.
The supermarket, that will be built on council owned land, will net the local authority £21m.
Six Labour councillors voted in favour while the three Conservative members voted against the plans.
The application will now go ahead unless the Secretary of State Eric Pickles ‘calls it in’ within the next 21 days.
But Mr Parker reassured Newport residents that the fight will go on.
He said: “The battle has been lost but the war goes on. Every parish council objected, Newport Town Council objected, the regeneration partnership, the Chamber of
Trade and an overwhelming number of residents objected.
This is a decision made with no concern for Newport people. The supermarket will be a monstrosity that you will see as soon as you get to the town. A lot of people are very angry and upset.”
Newport Town Councillor Rodney Pitt said: “This is a terrible decision for Newport and a terrible decision for the whole of Telford & Wrekin.
“If I was a member of that plans board I would not be able to look myself in the mirror. It should never have been approved.”
The leader of the Conservatives Andrew Eade, added: “I believe this application is an attack on Newport by its own local authority.
“If we need anything in the town it is a low-cost supermarket on a brown-field site.
“This is a cynical attempt by the developers, in this case the local authority itself, to make money.”
John Dodds, regional director for St. Modwen said: “We have worked very hard with Sainsbury’s and the council’s officers to reach this stage after many months of planning and consultation.
“Our original plans have been revised to address local concerns and we have created a scheme that maximises landscaping, provides excellent sustainable credentials and delivers economic and community benefits to the town.”