The future of independent shops in Rhiwbina could be under threat if plans by a supermarket giant to open another store get the go-ahead, according to a councillor.
Sainsbury’s has submitted a planning application to open a 400sq m Local store at the former Thornhill Cars garage, on the corner of Heol Llanishen Fach and Thornhill Road, Rhiwbina – just a mile from the chain’s superstore on Excalibur Drive.
The site has been used variously as a garage, petrol station and car showroom since 1959.
The proposal seeks change of use to three retail units on the ground floor – the largest of which will be occupied by Sainsbury’s – and an office retained on the first floor.
According to the applicants, Cardiff-based PMG Ltd, the scheme would create up to 50 jobs, including 25 at the new convenience store.
Rhiwbina’s Independent councillor Jayne Cowan said she had received a massive response to a newsletter sent to residents, with the “overwhelming majority” against the proposal.
She expressed concerns about the opening hours – 7am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday, and 8am to 10pm on Sundays – and increased traffic, describing it as an “inappropriate location”.
“It will be devastating to some of the local shops on the same road. We’ve had the birth of some new shops recently and these people pay huge rates to provide these facilities,” said Coun Cowan.
According to planning documents, the store’s impact on other shops will be “widespread but low and not falling on any particular centre”. It predicts a quarter of its trade will be drawn from the superstore.
“The proposed development will bring about increased choice in the Rhiwbina ward. This will have the effect of giving the residents the ability to undertake top-up shopping in a convenient and sustainable location,” the bid states.
But Nigel Jones, who has run Holly’s Store newsagents on Heol Llanishen Fach for seven years, said: “Times are hard and we are all doing our best to make things work and now we’ve got the giant supermarkets pushing in.”
Coun Cowan said the proposed parking facilities – 18 spaces available for shoppers – were inadequate.
Rhiwbina’s Independent councillors are staging a public meeting on Tuesday, December 4, at Bethany Baptist Church. Sign-in is at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.