Plans Approved for Aldi Supermarket Development on “Peaceful and Beautiful” Rural Site near Pwllheli
Plans for a supermarket development on a “peaceful and beautiful” rural site outside Pwllheli have been approved.
A full application to build an Aldi off the A499 has been agreed by Cyngor Gwynedd. It is hoped the store could create around 40 jobs.
The plan describes construction of a new Aldi food shop, car park, entrance, servicing and landscaping. Proposals include the development of 114 parking spaces.
The area forms part of a site designated for housing within the Local Development Plan, and the council has outline planning for homes to the east and west of the site.
Agent Sioned Edwards said Aldi had been looking for a place to provide a store for Pwllheli since 2015. She argued it meant shoppers could “stay local” – reducing carbon emissions.
Advantages included jobs with the “the highest wages in the supermarket sector,” and the store’s Welsh language commitment. The scheme could “unlock the site” and Aldi hoped to start work in the new year.
Councillor Elin Hywel local member said it was a “complex” application” raising emotions” for Pwllheli residents. But plans for housing had so far failed on the site.
“From my understanding, difficulties have been because of the wetness and gradient of the site,” she said. The new scheme was to be “welcomed,” if Aldi was supportive of local developments.
She described how a small stream ran through the centre of the site and ancient trees encompassed the land. “Nature has had free reign here. It is a peaceful and beautiful place,” she said.
She did not welcome its loss, but Aldi had “promised considerable work” to develop biodiversity, supporting nature by planting “a considerable number” of trees.
Aldi had a”responded positively” to access and the store would link the town to the site.
“Those of us living in Pwllhei are familiar with empty shelves during periods when it’s extremely busy, Aldi has responded to this,” she said.
Cllr Anne Lloyd Jones said it offered “more choice” to Pwllheli people and proposed accepting. Cllr Cai Larson seconded.
But Cllr Gruff Williams said he felt the site was “far out from Pwllheli and could impact the high street “negatively”.
Cllr Gareth Jones also had “concerns” over flooding and felt there was already shops and supermarkets in the area.
He was “not comfortable” permitting a development on the town’s outskirts an concerned for the loss of customers and shops in the town centre.
“This has already happened in one certain high street in Gwynedd, it is impoverished, that city’s heart has been ripped out,” he said.
Cllr Elwyn Edwards said with 40 people working, and a 20 percent commitment to Welsh speakers, “that means just eight people, meaning 32 people unable to speak Welsh,” he said.
Planning officer Gareth Jones said the council’s language assessment unit was “completely satisfied” with Aldi’s Welsh langauge assessment.
A planning report by outside experts also gave a” detailed assessmen,” they concluded the development complied with all relevant policy.
“There’s no evidence base to reject this application, all issues have been been assessed,” he said.
“There’s no objection by Natural Resources Wales or the council land drainage unit regarding flooding.
The application included investment into the site, transport infrastructure and roads that could serve potential housing.
“Without this, there may never be housing there,” he added.
In a vote to approve the application, seven were in favour, five against, no abstentions.
By Dale Spridgeon – Local Democracy Reporter
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