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Lidl and Home Bargains set for Blackwood Gate Retail Park

Published in News on Tuesday August 13th, 2013. Last updated at 09:02

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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.”

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  • Lindsey Humphrey

    We don't need more retail stores which will take business from the high street, we need a cinema and entertainment complex like Cwmbran so we don't have to travel miles and our children will have somewhere fun and safe locally to go.

    These retail businesses won't bring many job opportunities to Blackwood, if anything only a small percentage because they'll bring experienced staff from their other stores.

    Time to give us some entertainment during a depressing time.

  • jan

    There is a Facebook page in support of a cinema on this site:

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/121946714607970

  • Graham Harrison

    I agree in principal with Lindsey We need something that enhances the community as cinema, bowling alley etc

    this will bring employment as well as revenue to Blackwood

  • jan

    gingertom says… south wales argus 9th aug 2013

    When is cllr dix and caerphilly cbc going to listen to the general public. We want a cinema and a bowling alley at this site.

    Our young, old and disabled people of the area have been failed for far too long. Bargoed had 90 million spent on them. From Blackwood to risca we get nothing and it is not good enough.

    I am glad home bargains is come to blackwood but it would be better for them to use the old sommerfield store with the location of the bus station which I have already suggested to home bargains previously.

    Lidl is yet another supermarket!

    When is there going to be some effort made to sort out the empty shop situation in blackwood town centre.

  • Heli

    Home bargains is a discount store, we currently have two discount stores in Blackwood already. One of which is based in the highstreet, occupying a relatively large store.

    We already have Aldi along with Asda as discount supermarkets catering to the lower end of the market. So neither of these new stores would bring anything new to Blackwood or enhance the town and its shopping facilities in anyway.

    As the principal shopping destination in the borough, the council have aggressively sought to cripple development in Blackwood. The cannibalisation of trade in Blackwood is both a deliberate policy and act of vandalism.

    Oakdale business park gets wind turbines instead of leisure facilities. Blackwood is denied leisure facilities as the council has a Bargoed only policy.

    Now we are faced with a 'smaller element' of food retail. Smaller than what, the old Focus store or stores planned for Bargoed. Along with another discount store both of which will compete with the highstreet.

  • Cheryl

    I don't mind another supermarket. I just wish it was a Waitrose or a Marks and Spencer.

  • ian james

    The comments made by Jan are spot on. Why can't they use the Somerfield site? Why doesn't the council listen to the voice of the town?