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Highway safety issues could scupper shop expansion plans that could create 10 jobs

CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish a bungalow which would allow a shop extension to be built on the outskirts of Guilsfield that could create up to 10 new jobs, will be decided by councillors.

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Planning committee on Thursday, April 6, councillors will discuss an application by Paul Harding to demolish a bungalow and change of use of land from residential to retail use at Harding’s Shed and Garden supplies which also includes a petrol station and convenience store.

The extension will measure 23.8 metres in length, 9.4 metres in width, 5.3 metres to its tallest point, and 15 new parking spaces would also be created at the site.

The application is in front of the committee after being “called in” by local Powys county councillor Ian Harrison.

In January, Guilsfield community council discussed the proposal and while supporting the application, noted the concerns of residents who have started a petition to highlight the speeding issues and lack of lighting on a staggered junction.

There is a turning onto the site, a junction to the hamlet of Groeslwyd behind the petrol station and a junction for the B4392 that leads into Guilsfield, opposite the petrol station and going across the A490.

Cllr Ian Harrison – Powys County Council

Cllr Harrison said: “Whilst it is good news that the business wishes to expand, there is no provision for a change in the entry/exit provision, even though greater car parking capacity is planned, it would need to be considered within the context of a broader reconfiguration of the staggered junction and the local speed limit, which is currently 60mph.”

He added that a petition on speeding, safety and road junction design had been raised with the Montgomeryshire’s MP Craig Williams and MS Russell George and had also been supported by Guilsfield council.

Responsibility for this stretch of the A490 has been contested.

A petition was submitted to Powys council’s highways department, who said it was an issue for the Welsh Government.

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But it has been pointed out that this part of the A490 is the council’s responsibility.

Cllr Harrison said: “I need (Powys) highways to take action before someone is killed.

“I intend to explain to the planning committee that the basis for Highways’ support is dangerously flawed.”

Cllr Harrison added that there had been a recent collision at the site when a car left the petrol station to turn right onto the A490 towards Welshpool.

Planning office Luke Woosnam said: “The (Powys) highway authority concludes that the proposal will only likely have a marginal impact on existing level of vehicular/customer movements to and from the site.

“The small increase, would be adequately mitigated, by the removal of the existing dwelling, and by the provision of an additional 15 parking spaces, coupled with additional manoeuvring areas.

“In light of the considerations, it is therefore considered that the proposed development does comply with relevant planning policy and the recommendation is one of conditional consent.”