NEWPORT will see none of the £21 million given to council bosses from developers after the controversial sale of green land in the town, it was revealed today.
Last month planning chiefs gave their backing for a 50,000sq ft Sainsbury’s supermarket on land next to Station Road, Newport.
The application, put forward by developers St Modwen, will net the local authority £21 million.
But Councillor Bill McClements, from the controlling Labour party, said the money will be used to pay of crippling debts rather than re-invested in the town.
He said: “Over the years Newport has had significant investment. The capital receipt referred to here will go some way to reducing the huge and dangerous debt levels that this administration inherited from the Conservatives.
“For every £1 million debt, the council has to pay £75,000 per year which comes from front line services.
“This administration is committed to protecting front line services and reducing the massive council debt is key to that.”
Conservative Councillor Adam Stanton accused the local authority of selling the land to appease Labour voters in Telford.
He said: “Despite selling off land in Newport, the town itself will not see any of the money.
“Newport is traditionally a Conservative area and because of that the Labour administration are using it as a cash-cow to make improvements in Labour areas of Telford & Wrekin.
“There is no thought for Newport whatsoever. All the signs point to a borough council trying to maximise their income to appease Labour voters.”
Resident Helen Madeley added: “Everyone knows the strength of feeling against this application. We do not want a giant supermarket built on the entrance to our town.
“Hundreds of people turned up to the planning meeting only to be told by councillors, who aren’t from Newport, that this supermarket is in the best interests of the town.
Not only is it being forced upon us we also aren’t going to benefit from any of the money. It’s a disgrace.”
In the planning application, Sainsbury’s agreed to donate nearly £2 million to the town as part of a Section 106 agreement.
Russell Griffin, spokesman for Telford & Wrekin Council, confirmed that money will be given in addition to the land sale.
A new Facebook group has been launched for ‘open and unbiased debate’ about the prospect of a huge new Sainsbury’s supermarket in Newport.
Supporter Paddy McCartney has launched the group, called ‘Sainsbury’s coming to Newport, good or bad?’.