LLANDEILO businessman Simon Buckley has reacted angrily to criticism of campaigners who fought plans to establish a Sainsbury’s superstore in the Towy Valley town.
Welsh Assembly planners called-in Carmarthenshire county council’s decision to approve the construction of two giant Sainsbury’s supermarkets at Cross Hands and Llandeilo.
The retail giants subsequently withdrew plans for the Llandeilo store claiming “doubts about approval” made it impossible to take the scheme forward.
Now Mr Buckley, chief executive of the Llandeilo-based Evan- Evans brewery and owner of the White Horse Inn in Llandeilo, has claimed comments about the campaigners who objected to the development were being fuelled by misinformation.
“We won the argument against Sainsbury’s fair and square, but there have been comments in the local press which have been totally out of order,” he said.
Mr Buckley maintains he has been singled out for criticism for his co-ordination of the objections to the superstore plan.
“It is time to put a stop to this mis-information about jobs and job opportunities and for the people of Carmarthenshire to be told the truth.
“Firstly, there never were 250 jobs on offer from Sainsbury’s as part of the long-term store plan.
“At the public meeting in Llandeilo, the Sainsbury’s representative made it clear that the job numbers were not set by central Sainsbury’s management and would be determined by the individual store manager.
“Detailed research by the Save Llandeilo group showed that stores of a similar size employed no more than 125 staff and that those staff were largely parttime, working no more than 20 hours per week.
“Add to that the obvious number of job losses through the impact on the town stores and services in the surrounding areas, and there was likely to be an overall job loss scenario, not one of gain.
“That is why the Welsh Assembly Government questioned the planning recommendation by Carmarthenshire council.“ Sainsbury’s withdrew from Llandeilo because they knew that the application would have been lost at any public inquiry and that there was a very real danger that Cross Hands could have been rejected as well.”