MORE than 500 jobs look set to come to the area with two new Sainsbury’s stores - one in Llandeilo and the other at Cross Hands.

The county council’s recommendations for approval will now go to the Welsh Government to be considered under the Shopping Directive, because of their combined scale.

Residents showed their appreciation as applause rang out from the public gallery after each verdict was announced at last Thursday’s meeting of the planning committee.

The two stores would be the retail giant’s first outlets in Carmarthenshire and are just ten miles apart. Staff would be recruited from Llandybie, Llandovery, Ammanford and the Amman and Gwendraeth valleys.

The Llandeilo supermarket - about half the size of Ammanford’s new Tesco - is beside the Beechwood Industrial Estate.

The Cross Hands store would be part of a major new development stretching from the disused Kwik Save building to Maes yr Yrfa School.

Councillors heard that the store would be the ‘trigger’ for a 57-acre project, which would include housing, a medical centre and a residential home.

The Llandeilo store would employ between 200 and 250 people - most of them part-time - while the Cross Hands outlet is expected to take on up to 300 staff.

Opposing the Llandeilo application, brewer Simon Buckley and environmental campaigner Tim Shaw claimed it was much larger than the company’s original bid and would cause flooding.

But Llandeilo county councillor Ieuan Jones said jobs were the main issue in a community where unemployment is high.

“There may be a posh face to Llandeilo,” he declared, “but beneath the surface, there is a large group of young people and families who can only be classed as deprived.

“They are the ones who so desperately need the jobs which this development will bring.”

The two stores would put pressure on the Co-op and CK’s in Llandeilo, the much larger Co-op in Cross Hands and even Ammanford’s Tesco store.