Some vision needed
12:45pm Wednesday 18th September 2013 in Letters
WITH permission granted for another superstore in Haverfordwest, the councillors welcoming this development should consider what has caused the heart to be ripped out of so many town centres in recent years.
They should question why town centre premises are not allowed to compete fairly with the ugly retail sheds that have mushroomed around our towns, with their free onsite parking and cheap business rates.
In Narberth, the High Street shops have been hit by a threefold increase in their business rates and the poorly timed decision by the council to raise revenue from the only car park.
How can they possibly compete with the new supermarket, the size of all of the existing food shops combined, which is able to offer free parking and has a business rate valuation a fraction of every other store in town?
As if that isn’t enough, the council seems intent on allowing Narberth’s historic Victorian Primary School to be demolished for another supermarket shed to be built.
Do they lack the insight to sell the site for a more sensitive scheme, committed to saving the building and providing Narberth’s real needs?
If they took a long term view, they would recognise the disproportionate contribution that traditional town centre stores and their customers make.
When the only stores left are those operating from huge sheds, providing free parking and paying next to nothing in business rates, these two sources of income for the council will dry up.
How then will they fund their town centre regeneration schemes which do nothing but close the stable door on the towns that their policies have helped to destroy?
Perhaps then our council will realise that supermarkets, with the unfair advantages that they have been gifted, aren’t the solution for our dying town centres, they are the problem.
SIMON PALMER Landshipping