Plaid Cymru councillor urges action in wake of Tesco closure announcement

23/02/2015

The impending closure of the Tesco store in Caerphilly should act as a catalyst for bringing fresh impetus to the upper town centre area, according to a ward councillor.

But Councillor James Fussell, deputy Plaid Cymru group leader and a St Martin’s ward councillor, said that in the current financial climate he did not expect any public money to be made available.

C0uncillor Fussell said that through the town centre manager of Caerphilly County Borough a plan of action has been set up to address the issues of the announced closure for the staff, as well as the informing potentially interested business.

"The agencies approached include use of a Welsh Government programme to assist the staff in finding new employment through supporting employers with grant funding. Locally the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise ( ICE) has been approached to provide training support and liaison with the same employees."

Councillor Fussell said that having talked to businesses over the years his biggest concern for the sustainability of the high street was the private rent charged for the buildings occupied, which is added to by business rates.

"Some of the shops have to earn £30,000 before taking operational costs and wages into consideration. Independent owners have shown willing but find that although they may make a small income in reality they are working for the benefit of the landlord.

"In my mind its short term gain and does not help new shops establish themselves permanently and, unfortunately, the council does not have powers over these landlords.

"We will be looking at the Tesco site bringing some fresh impetus to the upper town area. But I wouldn't expect any public money to be made available to assist as it was when the Plaid Cymru-run authority decided to rebuild the library at its new site," added Councillor Fussell.