PLANS to build an ALDI store on the outskirts of Pontypool have been rejected by Torfaen council’s planning committee over concerns it could affect nearby traders and traffic.

The supermarket giant has submitted plans to build a store near the Skewfields Roundabout which links the A472 and the A4042 at the former Trico site.

Eight councillors sided with the recommendation to the refuse the proposal.

An additional motion for approval was put forward by Llanyrafon East & Ponthir ward member Cllr Huw Bevan, but eight councillors refused to back his proposal.

Members of the committee cited concerns of “undermining the vitality, viability and attractiveness” of Pontypool town centre and the “poor location” of the site for non-car modes of transport.

Councillors were also fearful that it could lead to an “increased risk of accidents” for cyclists and pedestrians.

Pontnewydd member Cllr Stuart Ashley, who voted against the motion and supported the recommendation for refusal, said: “It is solely and only for people with cars – that worries me.”

Members of the Torfaen's planning department cited concerns that the out of town development would have on Pontypool, as it would not be able to create "link trips".

Richard Lewis, Torfaen's head of development management, said: "The concern is that Pontypool is still in a very fragile state."

Brynwern ward member Cllr Len Constance did support the plans for the ALDI proposal to go ahead.

"If we miss this opportunity for a second store in the north of the borough, it will be the biggest mistake that this committee ever makes," he said.

Cllr Bevan cited the development on a brownfield site as a reason for going against the recommendation.

"It is still a new development on a brownfield site - I applaud that," said Cllr Bevan.

He also agreed with Cwmynyscoy's Cllr Neil Waite that the prospect of creation 40 jobs in the area would be beneficial.

A number of councillors and members of the planning team welcomed ALDI's interest in Pontypool, and were hopeful that another location could potentially be found.

"Members are being asked for consideration of this site," said Mr Lewis, "Bearing in mind we are happy to work with ALDI on alternative sites."

Around 33 letters of support and 10 objections were originally lodged followed by 261 letters of support in response to a letter drop by ALDI advising that the plans were set to be refused the report states.

A further 165 letters of support for the proposal were received by the council’s planning team, principal planner Claire Hall told the meeting.