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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Anger over 4m school field sale
Artist impression of the new store
An artist's impression of how the new store would look
Plans to build a supermarket on a school playing field in a Monmouthshire town have come under fire.

The county council wants to sell land belonging to Caldicot Comprehensive for 4m. That would leave the school with one pitch.

The council said it was trying to regenerate the town centre and improve its "poor trading position".

But local people say an alternative site should be used, and there are claims of a lack of consultation.

A petition opposing the proposals has been handed to the council after an outline planning application was submitted.

If they sell off the school fields the money can be used for anywhere in Monmouthshire - we want to see the money being used to regenerate Caldicot itself
Mike Rice, Caldicot Regeneration Group
The council want to secure planning permission for a food store of about 40,000 sq ft on part of the school playing fields.

It also wants to replace an astroturf pitch, realign the road running alongside the school, carry out refurbishments of the library and a new youth community centre.

If planning approval is granted, the land would be sold to a developer for 4m. The council said a new store would encourage people into the town.

Chris Woodhouse, Monmouthshire Council's cabinet member for environment, said: "The development of an anchor store will result in increased customers in the town generally, creating increased confidence in the place, which over time would lead to the regeneration of the town centre."

But the Caldicot Regeneration Group wants the King George V fields, which are closer to the town centre, to be used instead.

Mike Rice, the chair of the group said: "It is in a much better location for the town and if it were to be sold more money would be generated which can be put back into developing the facilities in Caldicot.

"We recognise there is a need for a supermarket but it seems that the council are not listening to us.

"If they sell off the school fields the money can be used for anywhere in Monmouthshire - we want to see the money being used to regenerate Caldicot itself."

Jill Bond, a parent with children at the school, has collected a protest petition.

She said the sporting facilities at the school should be kept for the children.

Planning officials are considering the proposals.




SEE ALSO:
Ghost town fears over car charges
21 May 05 |  South East Wales
Row over playing fields 'sell-off'
22 Jun 03 |  Education


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