Tesco £1million road pledge set to expire in Pontarddulais
THE deadline for a £1 million Tesco road pledge is set to lapse.
The retail giant agreed with a private developer to pay £1 million towards a new southern bypass in Pontarddulais — as long as it was built within five years.
That deadline is due to expire in the middle of next year.
And a southern bypass is now off the agenda after Swansea Council — with backing from the majority of Bont residents — decided not to push forward with any plans.
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But there are some people in Pontarddulais who feel the town may — if traffic congestion worsens — come to rue not supporting the bypass and getting a chunk of it funded by Tesco, which opened its superstore in the town in 2011.
Others will be glad council chiefs opted to kick the southern bypass — originally seen as a mechanism for releasing the development potential of land south of the A48 — into touch.
Tesco said it did not want to comment on what was a legal agreement between it and regeneration company Hygrove Holdings, which prepared the town's Tesco site, formerly home to the electricity board, built a new £2 million road and is behind the construction of 80 houses nearby.
Tesco has also contributed £200,000 towards town centre improvements as part of a separate agreement.
A Hygrove Holdings spokesman said: "There is a contractual agreement between Tesco and ourselves.
"That agreement was for a specific period of time."
A Swansea Cabinet report about various road options for Pontarddulais said the £1 million pledge was "time bound".
It added: "Attempts to verify the timescale with the developer's advisers have not been successful, although it is thought that the end date is sometimes in the middle of 2014."
Cabinet chiefs decided to investigate further improvements to the Bont's town centre gyratory and the potential for a northern access road. Cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Nick Bradley, told the Post he empathised with Bont residents who attended the cabinet meeting and suggested that Tesco might wish to contribute some of the £1 million towards further town centre improvements.
Pontarddulais town councillor John Miles said only 51 per cent of people supported a southern bypass in an earlier consultation, around three years ago.
He reckoned a northern access road would not materialise for at least 10 years because Tata Steel had a lease on land there.
Mr Miles said: "People don't want more housing in Pontarddulais, but a large chunk of funding for the northern route would involve housing, and enticing industry."
Swansea Council, meanwhile, said Tesco had fulfilled a Section 106 Agreement when planning permission for the superstore was originally granted.
"It involved Tesco contributing £200,000 towards town centre regeneration there," said a council spokesman.