National home, leisure and garden retailer The Range is coming to Brynmawr – creating 65 new jobs for the area.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Planning Committee on Thursday, April 20, councillors approved a planning application to merge two units to create one store and install a mezzanine floor covering for the proposal at the Lakeside Retail Park, Nantyglo, Brynmawr.
The units formerly housed Home Bargains and Peacocks shops.
At the meeting, planning officer Joanne White explained that the only part of the scheme that needed to be discussed was allowing installation of a mezzanine floor for retail use, and advised councillors to grant approval.
Ms White said: “It had been demonstrated that the proposal will not have an unacceptable impact on the vitality and viability of Brynmawr town centre.”
Committee chairwoman Cllr Lisa Winnett showed her support, saying: “I welcome this, it’s lovely to see a large company wanting to come to our area.
“It will also help increase footfall and encourage other developers to come.
“They sell things we can’t actually purchase in shops round here, it will certainly save me driving down to Newport to shop at The Range.
“It’s also going to help the environment as we won’t have to travel so far, I’m excited about it.”
Other Councillors shared their enthusiasm. Cllr John Hill said: “This will allow us to draw custom from elsewhere and all the other units and town centre will benefit from it pulling all these people in.”
Cllr Peter Baldwin added that this would be a “win-win.”
Whilst Cllr Jules Gardner continued: “I also welcome the proposal overall and 65 jobs can be created is going to be very beneficial to residents.
“It will benefit the retail park, but I don’t think it will benefit the town centre in any shape or form until there’s a joined-up approach.”
Ms White pointed out that the Brynmawr Placemaking Plan has just been signed off by the council’s cabinet.
Ms White said: “That is looking at ways of improving connections between the retail park and town centre to join up the areas.
“By putting a condition on (the planning permission) to ensure this is kept as a large unit, it’s less likely to compete with the town centre.”
Meanwhile, Cllr David Wilkshire pointed out that if the committee would not support the proposal The Range would go elsewhere.
The committee approved the application unanimously.