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Fears JD Wetherspoon could ‘destroy’ Holywell

A WETHERSPOON pub could ‘destroy’ Holywell, according to councillors and the town centre manager.

At a meeting last week, the town council discussed an application from national pub chain JD Wetherspoon for the former Woolworths store on the High Street, which has been empty since it closed two years ago.

Town centre manager Medwyn Roberts said: “On the one hand the council is pumping a lot of money into regenerating Holywell town centre, but on the other hand it is destroying it by destroying our retail space.

“The county council must put its foot down about applications like this, otherwise it’s not worth pumping money into the town – we’re finished.”

He said there were all ready 29 businesses selling food and drink in the town, with two more set to open soon.

Cllr Peter Yorke added: “What do want of this town? Do we want it to be a drinkers’ refuge, especially a cheap drinkers’ refuge?”

But Cllr Gareth Roberts, who also sits on the Flintshire County Council’s planning committee, said there were no grounds for refusing the application.

He said: “If we were to refuse this application it would not only be overturned at appeal, but we would have significant costs awarded against us.”

Cllr Karin Davies said other businesses would struggle to compete with the chain.

But Cllr John Griffiths argued the pub could have a positive effect on the town.

“It might not be to all our taste, but it’s a knee jerk reaction to say everything else will close because of it,” he said.

“People who run businesses have to re-position to help them come to terms with the new situation. There is always going to be competition.

“What people see now as a bad job could eventually work to our benefit.”

Mayor of Holywell Cllr Peter Curtis said he was opposed to the application.

He said: “I’m not against Wetherspoon’s, it’s the loss of retail area I’m opposed to. Once we lose it we just don’t get it back.”

The council voted to oppose the application because it would have a detrimental effect on the retail core of the town.

The application is expected to go before the planning committee in January.