PLANS for a Costa Coffee drive through restaurant on the outskirts of Welshpool, that could create 11 jobs, have been given the green light by Powys planners.
At the council’s Planning Committee meeting on Thursday, September 21, councillors discussed the proposal by Delves and Co for land at Rhallt View and Tan yr Allt View, on the A483 roundabout with the A458, opposite the livestock market.
The principle for development has been established when a previous outline planning application for the site was agreed by the committee back in February 2020.
A detailed planning application was lodged with council just under two years ago to deal with the reserved matters of access, appearance, layout, landscaping, and scale.
But concerns about the proposal have remained.
Shortly after the reserved matters application was lodged it was “called in” for a decision by committee by the former Powys county councillor for the area, Francesca Jump.
She stood down as a councillor at the last election in May 2022.
Also, the Welsh Government as highways trunk authority had issued a “holding direction” on the scheme due to highway safety concerns.
Extensive negotiations have taken place between Powys planning officers, the applicant, and Welsh Government officials to overcome the holding direction.
At the meeting Welshpool Town Councillor David France said: “I hope you can understand how worried a lot of people in Welshpool are about this development and the wider trajectory it is part of.
“The out of town developments are already significant enough that Welshpool is being bypassed by some tourist traffic.”
He added that Costa Coffee already have a shop in the town centre and allowing this to go ahead might see it close.
Cllr France said: “This would send a clear message to investors that the town centre is done.
“Town centres are not dying they are being killed and the murder weapon is developments like this one.”
He feared that this type of development would lead to Welshpool becoming a “ghost town” and hoped county councillors objected to the proposal.
In response, planning agent Gerallt Davies of Roger Parry and partners stressed that the principle of development had already been agreed at an outline planning stage.
Mr Davies said: “It’s been in the planning process for two years, the town council official objection was on a demolition of a property, it’s outside the development boundary and safety issues with pedestrian crossing.
“All these matters have been considered and approved in the outline application and are not a consideration for this reserved matters application.”
“This proposal will create jobs.”
He also believed that Costa would retain their Welshpool town centre coffee shop.
Cllr Elwyn Vaughan said: “This was approved in 2020 which feels like ages ago now, but it is very pertinent to the comments from Welshpool Town Council.”
Committee vice-chairman, Cllr Gareth D Jones who seconded the motion believed that “some training” might be needed for statutory consultees such as the town council. that would help them understand the difference between outline and reserved matter planning applications.
“This would better prepare them to represent their communities,” said Cllr Jones.
The application was approved unanimously.