ANGRY petitioners have accused the Llandaff North councillors of failing to consult the community before supporting a new Lidl store on Station Road.
The Lidl planning application, which had been rejected on two previous occasions, was finally approved on November 11, with Llandaff North’s Labour councillors Sue White and Dilwar Ali giving their full support.
But now a petition has been started calling for the councillors to provide evidence of communicating with local residents and businesses before they decided to back the development.
A former Llandaff North Labour councillor, Siobhan Corria, has supported the petition, which has now gained over 50 signatures. According to Ms Corria, this means that councillors White and Ali must hand the petition in to the full council.
Ms Corria said: “There is no sign of a consultation document from either Dilwar or Sue on the council website. There just doesn’t seem to be a paper trail for their support.
“How can they say that this is what the majority of people in Llandaff North want when they don’t seem to have consulted anyone about it?”
The lead petitioner, charity worker Terence Canning, who wanted the plans amended to save the skittle alley and beer garden at the Pineapple pub, has also criticised the councillors.
He said: “Myself and the other petitioners live very near the site where the Lidl will be built, but the councillors haven’t communicated with us at all.
“It’s outrageous, because this is probably the biggest development application we’ve ever had in Llandaff North. Neither councillor is earning their allowance of £13,000 per year.”
But Cllr White, who signed the original petition to save the skittle alley and beer garden before she was elected, denies his claim that she has failed to fulfil her duties.
She said: “The whole application went through the normal process. Anyone who wanted to raise their objections, including Siobhan, had the opportunity to do so.
“I am currently seeking legal advice on whether I need to hand the petition in to the full council. I am waiting to hear back from my monitoring officer, but I do not believe that there is any legal obligation to hand it in.”
How the Lidl store was approved
Lidl had been attempting to open a store on Station Road for several years before their planning application was approved on November 11.
During that time a petition started by Hilary James, owner of local business Cakey Wakey, wholly supporting the application was signed by 800 people.
When she submitted the petition to the council, Ms James said: “I am convinced that this store will bring more people to our area and benefit many retailers such as myself.”
Another petition, which supported the application but opposed Lidl building over the Pineapple pub’s skittle alley and beer garden, was signed by 327 people.
This petition was supported by Ms Corria and Mr Canning.
Ms Corria said of the wholly supportive petition: “It states it has in excess of 800 signatures. From what I can see, only 324 provide an address in Llandaff North.
“But almost all of the 327 people who signed the other petition are Llandaff North residents. How do the councillors come to fully support the application when people in Llandaff North seem to be 50-50, and without having done their own consultation?”
Before she was a councillor, Sue White signed the petition that opposed Lidl building over the Pineapple Pub’s skittle alley and beer garden.
Cllr White said: “In an ideal world I would have liked to save the beer garden, but there was not a valid planning ground for refusal.
“It wasn’t in my powers to stop it, and the reality is that we don’t live in a perfect world.”
Mr Canning strongly opposes the removal of the beer garden and skittle alley.
He said: “We’re losing a big part of the community. The alley was a great place for kids to play skittles.
“Every summer we raise hundreds of pounds for my charity, the UK Sepsis Trust, by holding a fundraiser in the beer garden, but we’re going to struggle to find somewhere else now.
“It’s a real shame, because the fundraiser was a great day out for kids in the community. It could have been saved if Lidl had been willing to lose out on five or six parking spaces.”