A POLICE station which was built beside Civil War fortifications in Carmarthen will be demolished to make way for a new Lidl store.
Members of Carmarthen Civic Society urged Carmarthenshire Council’s planning committee to reject the plans, but councillors were told the impact of the store would have a “slight positive impact” on the centuries-old Bulwarks and voted in favour of the scheme by a narrow majority.
Lidl’s application to relocate from its current Priory Street site to the empty police station at Friars Park had been deferred twice by the committee, pending advice from Welsh Government heritage experts.
Council officers said the latest advice from Cadw was that the new single-storey Lidl would open up views of The Bulwarks compared to the current three-storey police station, and that the development “will have a slight positive impact” on the rare earthwork fortifications.
Addressing the committee, Sally Bere, of the civic society, said The Bulwarks was given ancient scheduled monument status in 1982 “specifically to protect them from damage and the incremental development which is now being proposed”.
She said Carmarthen could trace Roman, medieval and Civil War remains and that The Bulwarks’s Civil War significance was only matched by one other site in the whole of Wales and England.
Mrs Bere said she felt Lidl’s proposal, which includes a 122-space car park, was too large for the site and fell short of the “high quality, bespoke design” required.
“It (the application) has at best paid lip service to some sort of status quo,” she said.
Also addressing the committee, Carmarthen Town South councillor Gareth John said he would fight for Lidl to remain at its current shop in Priory Street, that he was surprised at Cadw’s conclusions, and that – if councillors were minded to support the application – the earliest delivery time should be 6am not 5am as proposed.
Another objector, Philip Grice, of Carmarthen Town Council, said air pollution would rise at what was already a “hot spot” on the adjacent Morfa Road.
But the county council said the change in traffic volume would be “negligible”, and that the new store would be closer to many customers than the current one.
A council officer, in reply to a question from councillor Carys Jones, said Lidl had looked at other potential sites and that none were better placed.
A representative for Lidl was at the meeting but declined to address the committee, while councillor Joseph Davies said: “I think it (the store) will attract more people to the site and more people will become aware of its importance.”
Before determining the application, the committee amended one of the 18 planning conditions – namely that the earliest delivery should be 6am.
Lidl will plant trees and other greenery to help screen the seven-metre high store, and erect information panels telling people about The Bulwarks.
Cadw has separately granted the supermarket consent to extend the current car park and widen the access road.
In a statement, Lidl said 20 new jobs wouldbe created as a result of its multi-million pound investment.
Lidl regional head of property, Paul Hebblethwaite, said: “We could not be more delighted to have received planning permission, and look forward to getting started on construction.”