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‘It’s a big multinational company trying to crush a little village’: Businesses and residents fight to stop One Shop opening in Pontnewydd

Man and woman stood outside shop
Aqua Parekh and Duncan Campbell

Residents and businesses in Pontnewydd are fighting to stop a One Stop opening in the village.

In 2013 a planning application was approved to allow the former Pontnewdd Inn pub on Commerical Street to change into a shop. That application had conditions that put limits on the size of delivery vehicles, the times they could visit and where they could stop to unload.

Now calfordseaden LLP has asked Torfaen Council to change some of those conditions as they argue it will only be commercially viable for One Stop to open with them in place. If the amendments are allowed delivery vehicles of up to 11 metres could be allowed to park outside the shop anytime from 6am to 8pm

One Stop is owned by Tesco but operates as a ‘separate business’.

Cwmbran Life visited Richmond Wines on Richmond Road and spoke to Aqua Parekh, whose family have run the business for 19 years. She has paid a transport consultant to do a report on traffic movements in the village and how it will be impacted if the conditions are removed.

She said: “He said ‘it’s not viable, it’s not going to work’. So I’m hoping the council read all of this, and take those into consideration and keep those conditions standing. They want to use an 11-metre lorry and that doesn’t include the ramp,

“As you can see the roads are narrow and it’s already a one-way system. It would only leave 3.9 metres for passing vehicles to overtake them. It’s going to cause huge disruptions, Buses and ambulances won’t be able to pass that lorry.

“We have asked the councillors to do an on-site visit. It will cause demise within the village and lots of busineses will be impacted. We are trying to keep everything locally run. Everything here is locally run. A local family run Silcox Stores. There is enough custom for all of us. Tesco want to come in and they’ve got this giant building and it’s going to cause significant hardships for a lot of people

“That’s all the technical issues but there is a moral message about it for the people who live here. There have been villages and communities and villages that have been able to fight this off and we are just hoping our council can do the same for us as well. These One Stops, Tescos and small Sainsbury’s kill off little villages.

“They really do. You just can’t survive against them.”

a boarded up pub
The former Pontnewydd Inn pub

Local resident Duncan Campbell has drawn chalk outlines on the road outside the former Pontnewydd Inn to show how much space an 11-metre lorry would take up on the road. His lines show it would partially block the road that leads up from the car park to Commercial Street.

“It will impact on trade in the village, the post office, the baker, Silcox Stores. We are talking about 36 people struggling for their jobs. plus their families, which means 120 people affected.

“It’s a big multinational company trying to crush a little village.”

He said across Pontnewydd the businesses do a lot of community work to support foodbanks, local appeals and churches.

a road
The chalk markings show how an 11m lorry would block part of the road that leads from the car park

Alcohol licence

One Stop has also applied to be allowed to sell alcohol from 6am to 11pm seven days a week. Aqua is speaking at the licensing hearing on Tuesday 22 November 2022 to argue that it will increase anti-social behaviour in Pontnewydd.

She said: “I have a house across the road. We have reduced our opening hours to be respectful of everyone else that lives here, from 9am to 9pm. We don’t want to live with chaos and anti-social behaviour. I think it’s just ridiculous. There are already ten premises in the village that have an alcohol licence.”

‘Interactive chat’

Before I left the shop Aqua joked about the added customer service that businesses in the village offers. She said: “Everybody knows each other. Everyone gets on. There is no self-scan here. You get a full-on interactive chat.”

The petition can be signed in Richmond Wines and Silcox Stores.

Share your views on the application

Click here to comment on the application to vary the planning conditions.

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‘It’s a big multinational company trying to crush a little village’: Businesses and residents fight to stop One Shop opening in Pontnewydd