Lidl and Home Bargains set for Blackwood Gate Retail Park
Blackwood Gate Retail Park could soon be home to retail chains Lidl and Home Bargains, its owner has said.
Linnell Investments have said the retailers, and others, are interested in occupying units at the 84,500 sq ft. The retail park, which had permission for the sale of non-food bulky items, has been left empty since Focus DIY went bust in 2011.
A planning application to convert the store into a supermarket for Morrisons was rejected last year – causing a huge row between the then ruling Plaid Cymru administration and the Labour group.
The decision was made a hot local election issue by Labour in the area, who vowed to reverse the decision, and led to Plaid leader Allan Pritchard losing his seat in May last year.
Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Planning Committee have now granted permission for a smaller element of food retail, a larger element of non-food retail as well as an element of bulky goods retail and leisure.
In a statement read out at last week’s meeting, Linnell said: “No one was more disappointed than the team at Linnell over Morrisons’ decision not to open a new store in Blackwood.
“It came as a significant stumbling block to bringing about the economic revitalisation of the retail park. More so as we were only made aware of Morrison’s decision once it had been in the local press. We were not informed prior to this, and as was clear from the previous application, it had been prepared specifically around their occupation.
“However we have moved on, and have been working extremely hard after the last few months. We have now reached a position whereby two nationally branded retailers are ready to occupy over 40% of the built space, offering mixed use food and open A1 products.
“One of these intended operators is Home Bargains who are one of the best credit rated companies in the UK and this store would be right up there with their largest across the UK.
“We now have a number of other retailers (including Lidl and Charlies DIY) who are extremely interested in trading from Blackwood Gate Retail Park.”
Blackwood Labour Councillor Nigel Dix has welcomed the news.
He said: “I have been campaigning for a change of use at Blackwood Gate for eight years.
“It’s been a long and sometime bumpy ride to get where we are today. My aim has always been to do all I can support those who want to business in our town.
“I have received many message of support from the public, our MP, Lord Touhig and our Assembly Member, which I am extremely grateful for.
“I would also like to thank the committee for agreeing to vary the Open A planning consent. “This decision means that Blackwood Gate is now open for business and I look forward to seeing a thriving retail park, which will provide much needed employment.”Follow @CaerphillyObsvr