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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Company dropped from regeneration

Plans which have been in the pipeline since 2006 to redevelop a town's former cattle market are on hold after the chosen developer was dropped.

The site in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire was to get an £11m redevelopment with a retail park, cinema and supermarket.

But Monmouthshire council announced it was dropping developer Henry Boot after contract changes were demanded.

Monmouthshire council said it would explain its reasons for not continuing with Henry Boot at a special meeting.

Controversial plans to regenerate the former cattle market in the town have been debated for several years.

A supermarket, retail park and cinema had been planned to be built on the site.

But in 2006, the council received 3,500 letters of objection to the plans citing fears it would kill off the town's existing busy shopping area.

In July, permission was granted for a new cattle market to be opened 10 miles (16 km) away near Raglan to replace Abergavenny's 150 year old mart.

Monmouthshire council said the Abergavenny mart was not "fit for purpose", would need millions of pounds spent on it and it was continuing with its plans to redevelop the area.

However, Asda, which had been in line to have a store on the site, recently pulled out.

And now the council has announced it was ceasing talks with Henry Boot to redevelop the site.

The council said that after "lengthy negotiations on an extension to their contract, it has decided not to continue with Henry Boot as the developer of the cattle market."

It is understood Henry Boot had been seeking changes to its contract due to the economic downturn.

But the council said it was outside the terms so far agreed with the developer.

Steve Greenslade, Corporate Director for the council said: "The economic situation has had an affect on this scheme as it has on many others throughout the country.

"Following Asda's withdrawal, Henry Boot wanted changes which would have enabled them to continue with the contract.

"These were unacceptable to the council.

"As a result, the project board have decided not to process in this way."

Councillor Bob Greenland, deputy leader with responsibility for regeneration, said: "We have to be aware of the different economic climate.

"A special cabinet meeting will be held on 5 August when the reasons why we are not proceeding with Henry Boot will be explained.

"However, I will inform cabinet that we need to continue with the plan to redevelop the Abergavenny town centre as a necessity to retain the vitality and vibrancy of the town.

"I remain conscious of the likelihood of an out of town application for a food store and the detrimental effect that will have on the town.

"We want to attract shoppers into Abergavenny and not away from it".

Henry Boot Plc has been asked to comment.

1,924 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This article reads as though Abergavenny must have a town centre supermarket at all costs. I appreciate they are trying to prevent another edge of town supermarket, but would a supermarket in the town centre really be any less damaging to the small shops in the town that simply can't compete?

From the New Economics Foundation's "Ghost Town Britain II" page 32:

Regeneration initiatives that replace small independent retailers
with large chain stores are likely to have a negative net impact on the very communities they’re designed to assist.

511 Posts
"Regeneration initiatives that replace small independent retailers
with large chain stores are likely to have a negative net impact on the very communities they’re designed to assist."

The New Economics Foundation is a wishy-washy liberal-left think-tank with very little economic rigour behind what they do. Their thinking is full of wrong headed notions like:

1) Its good to spend in local shops because money stays "locally". Effectively, this is nothing more than a local form of protectionism. And trade protectionism is bad because it means we can't exploit gains from trade (the fact that I have an advantage in making butter, and you in guns, for instance). If I buy locally, so will my neighbours and we're all worse off because of it. More of my money stays local but then my neighbours don't shop with me either.

2) "Noone wants a Tesco, because all the small shops will close". Well, the small shops are presumably closing because people aren't shopping there anymore and are going to Tesco instead. Which shows that deep down, despite their whinging about "local shops", they actually value the prices and convenience of Tesco more.

Competition is the lifeblood of the economy and if small shops can't compete with the big ones, its a signal that people really do prefer supermarkets. Stopping supermarkets enter or foreign companies selling their goods here basically promotes the economic interests of a small group of producers (e.g. small shop keepers) over the interests of wider society (e.g. shoppers), and that is unfair.
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