300 attend Monmouth public meeting over retail development

7:33pm Tuesday 4th February 2014

THREE hundred people attended a public meeting in Monmouth last night (TUES) set up by an action group opposing plans for a drive-through coffee shop and restaurant, a public house and retail unit on the edge of the town.

The Gateway to Wales Action Group says it has serious concerns about the proposal to build a McDonald’s, Costa Coffee, Pets At Home and Marston’s public house/restaurant on one of the main entrances to Monmouth between New Dixton Road and the A40.

The group says while it supports the on-going development of Monmouth and has no objection to the proposed businesses opening in more appropriate locations it believes the chosen site is the wrong place.

At last night's meeting in Shire Hall, Eileen Phillip, chairwoman of the Gateway to Wales Action Group, said: "The school (Monmouth Comprehensive) is to have a £35m development with astro turf and could re-do its main entrance.

"What effect is this(plan) going to have?

"1,600 children will need to cross Dixton Road twice if they want to go to McDonald's. It is dangerous. There needs to be complete safety.

"Do we really need this development in Monmouth? Will this increase traffic growth? We say yes it will. It is a detriment to this area."

The group says while it supports the on-going development of Monmouth and has no objection to the proposed businesses opening in more appropriate locations it believes the chosen site is the wrong place.

The proposal has divided more than 1,700 residents who voiced their views on ‘for’ and ‘against’ Facebook groups, set up in November last year. More than 1,200 people support the scheme, with almost 900 saying they were against it.

The scheme, which will create 142 new jobs, was presented to Monmouth Town Council on October by agents DPP Ltd on behalf of Avenbury Ventures.

The group said concerns include traffic and pedestrian safety issues, environmental concerns such as pollution and flooding, the effect on the town centre of an out-of-town development and having a fast food restaurant so close to Monmouth Comprehensive.

Monmouth Civic Society has also raised concern about the effect it would have on the character of the town.

The developer considers the scheme to represent an opportunity to provide a new and improved retail and leisure facilities for local residents and visitors to Monmouth.

A report by DPP UK Ltd said the proposal to regenerate this long-standing vacant site represents a major opportunity for a sensitively-designed commercial scheme which will provide much-needed employment opportunities for local people.

It adds that the scheme will assist in remedying an existing deficiency by meeting the refreshment needs of passing motorists.

The application has yet to be considered by Monmouthshire council.

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