SUPERMARKET giant could at last be set to breathe new life into the Blackwood Gate Retail Park after Caerphilly council gave the go ahead.
The local authority’s planning committee overturned a decision not to allow a food store on the site, paving the way for a retailer to create a new store there with up to 300 jobs.
Blackwood Gate has been a hugely controversial issue locally ever since Focus went bust two years ago, leaving the main unit empty.
The unit only had permission for retailers of bulky items to be based there, as stated in the Local Development Plan.
However, after approaching more than 100 bulky goods retailers, the site’s owner, Linnell Investments failed to get any interest.
They felt filling the main unit was key to getting businesses in the other empty units, and asked councillors to grant them permission to place a supermarket there, after getting interest from Morrisons.
This was refused by the planning committee during the previous Plaid Cymru administration, leading to Labour using the issue as a main plank in their election campaign.
They pledged to bring up to 300 jobs to the site, and after they triumphed in the subsequent elections, the planning committee overturned the previous decision last week.
Blackwood councillor Nigel Dix has campaigned vociferously for eight years over Blackwood Gate, as it has been beset by problems and its owners have considered bulldozing it.
He said the decision offers some good news for the town in these tough economic times.
Cllr Dix said: “For far too long Blackwood Gate had been allowed to languish and remain unproductive.
“The change of conditions will mean that the owners will now be able to attract business to Blackwood Gate and we can now look forward to a brighter future where local people will have an opportunity to gain employment.”
While Morrisons remains Linnell’s preferred business to fill the unit, the decision means the company can now talk to any supermarket chain about it.