A PICTURESQUE town centre is turning into “chip-pan alley” says a community leader.

County planners have approved proposals for a shop to become a food outlet in Holywell town centre, which already has many fast food and takeaway restaurants.

Town mayor Peter Curtis, who spoke out against the application, said town centre shopping was being eroded.

He said: “We have 14 other outlets for food in Holywell, we do not believe we need another. We know there is still no interest in the site.

“We know it will be very difficult to let the shop. We would love to see the empty shops full.

“The one thing we do not need is another fast food or takeaway restaurant.”

However, members of Flintshire Council’s planning committee disagreed and gave permission for the change of use during a meeting at County Hall. The shop, which has been empty since 2006, also has a second unit which will remain as a retail unit.

Queensferry councillor David Wisinger supported the scheme.

He said: “If you leave these shops and wait for retail outlets to come along it will never happen.

“To see a shop in that state would put small traders off from coming to the town. You would wonder why it would be empty so long.”

Cllr Gareth Roberts agreed and said he thought the opening of Tesco in Holywell had had an effect on the High Street.

He said: “It is better having a renovated building than continuing as it is now.”

Holywell Town Council had also objected to the application citing the impact on existing outlets and the need for diversity, while five letters of objection were received with fears raised over antisocial behaviour, litter and noise.

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