Residents from three neighborhood groups in Swansea, England, have joined forces to block the application by Asda/Wal-Mart to build a 72,000 s.f. superstore on the site of the former Emmanuel College Playing Fields. The residents of Blackpill, Derwen Fawr, and Mayals, charge that the store, which includes a 1.5 acre flood pond to prevent flooding, will do irreparable harm to the community in many ways. Their objections include: 1) the store would be contrary to Local Planning Policies and will damage local shops and shopping centers over a wide area. 2) it will cause major traffic congestion 3) the development site is in a flood plain 4) it will create very adverse effects on nearby residential areas 5) the flooding risk is too great for such works to be relied upon 6) construction will use contaminated fill from imported soils 7) local officials have already refused permission for new surface water connections to the local stream, 8) there are safety and health issues arising from the large and deep depression, which will be flooded. Residents also say the project would create “untenable noise” on a 24 hour a day basis. The group has been fighting this project since it was filed in July, 2002. They say Swansea needs local shops to provide for those who prefer to shop near their homes. They say the Wal-Mart store will kill off “local traders.”
In a recent case of an ASDA proposal in the Newquay area, the application attracted the attention of the Secretary of State, who said he wanted to know particularly about the proposed development’s relationship to the adopted structure plan and local plan for the area. The government officials noted that he wanted more information on the, “effects on the vitality and viability of the town centre, the need for the developments and whether a similar development could be built nearer to the town centre.” His concerns also reflected the government’s objective of reducing the need to travel, especially by car. To learn about opposition to Wal-Mart in Swansea, U.K., go to www.no-asda.org.