New bid for Wrexham superstore

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Staff reporter

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a supermarket in an area of Wrexham are on the cards again, developers have said.

A proposal by Liberty Properties to build a Sainsbury’s store in Ruabon were thrown out by Wrexham Council’s planning committee last June.

But Emyr Williams, a director at the Chester-based firm, said a new application could be submitted again soon.

“Sainsbury's is still committed to a store in Ruabon,” he said.

“Last time we saw 1,000 signatures on a petition saying people wanted Sainsbury's to come to the area.

“I think we were eventually outsmarted by the minority who didn’t want Sainsbury's there.

“We are doing something that the community wants and are looking at all the alternatives we can.”

Last June planning committee members went along with their officers’ recommendation to refuse the plan by nine votes to eight.

The application called for a Sainsbury’s store of 53,000 sq ft plus a petrol station to be built alongside 33,000 sq ft of office space, on land just off the A483 Ruabon Bypass.

“We have been making various assessments and learning lessons from our last application,” said Mr Williams.

“We have been having initial discussions and things are taking slightly longer.”

After the first application was submitted a protest group called RAMROD (Ruabon
Against Major Retail Over-Development) was set up to oppose the development, with members demonstrating before the crucial planning committee meeting and celebrating afterwards.

However, Joan Lowe, county councillor for Ruabon South, said a supermarket would bring much needed jobs to an area hit hard by unemployment.

She said: “Last time I supported it because I felt it would have a big benefit for jobs in the area. Since then there have been a lot more jobs lost in Wrexham South and there’s a greater need.

“In this economic climate if families haven’t got jobs that should be a consideration.”

Regarding the opposition to the plans from local shops last year she added: “I think that’s basically what all small shops are going to say, but basically people’s shopping habits have changed dramatically. Smaller shops are used for odds and ends.

“It would make very little difference to the smaller businesses in Ruabon. People use them for convenience and do their big shops at supermarkets.”

See full story in the Leader

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