Tesco appeal would have cost ratepayers a fortune

SIR - Great play has recently been made by the Lib Dems on their opposition to the planning permission for a Tesco supermarket on the site of Brian Ford s store. They have made every effort for this to be the fault of the present Conservative administra

SIR - Great play has recently been made by the Lib Dems on their opposition to the planning permission for a Tesco supermarket on the site of Brian Ford's store.

They have made every effort for this to be the fault of the present Conservative administration. This is not the case and had Nick Harvey bothered to check and question Cllr Malcolm Prowse the leader of NDC for 16 years on his involvement and commitment to this project, he might well have come to a different conclusion.

The Executive of September 4, 2004 instructed the Council's agent to finalise negotiations with Brian Ford's with a view to entering into an agreement for lease renewals at a ballpark figure of �3.5 million.

This remained the position of the Lib Dem-led council though all the negotiations, resulting in the passing of a final agreement for the lease extensions at the Executive of January 22, 07. The only major change was the settlement fee. The Lib Dems were prepared to extend the leases for �3.5 Mil but a new Conservative councillorwho had professional knowledge in this area maintained the leases were under-valued. His persistence paid off and in 2007 the settlement was increased to �7.5 Mil. A minute from that meeting read, "to generate economic development and support both economy and regeneration - one of the four Corporate Priorities." of the council.


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I will leave the reader to draw their own conclusions as to the reason Lib Dem councillors had their sudden change of heart. Cllr Prowse was Leader of the Council from beginning to end of this process one can only speculate on his sudden change of mind. The fact that a supermarket chain bought out Brian Ford's was inevitable and a financial contingency was put in the contract if this did happen.

Nick Harvey and his colleagues are, in my opinion, being totally disingenuous when they assume the planning application could have been turned down because it was Tesco. Large supermarkets have huge power, which is probably unfair to other traders, but as the law stands history shows an appeal from Tesco against a refusal would have been successful and cost the ratepayer a fortune to resist.

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This deal was fully transparent as readers can check on the NDC website.

Cllr Michael Harrison

Newport.

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