South Coast Leisure’s Tony Wake talks to Doreen, left, and Rachel Stone about the Newport FC plans. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
ALTERNATIVE plans for a new Asda store have proved a hit with the public but have yet to convince planners or supermarket bosses.
South Coast Leisure (SCL), the company that owns Newport Football Club’s ground, next to Asda’s preferred site off St George’s Way, has said it was delighted with the response to its plans at a recent public exhibition in Newport.
But Asda has made it clear it intends to stick to its preferred scheme after submitting a long-awaited planning application late last year.
It has accused SCL of trying to foil its plans by stepping in at the last minute with a rival proposal.
Furthermore, SCL has no formal agreement with the Isle of Wight Council to relocate Newport Football Club to council-owned land east of the current ground — a key element of SCL’s proposal which, it says, would safeguard the long-term future of the club. In fact, the council has a contractual agreement with Asda over the land.
Despite these hurdles, SCL’s major shareholder Tony Wake, formerly of Wake’s Carpet Superstore, said he was 100 per cent sure the council’s planning committee would favour the company’s yet-to-be-submitted application over Asda’s.
Speaking after the exhibition, he said: "We were very pleased with the response. No-one said they preferred the original Asda proposal. Once people realised how different our scheme was, that it brought the store closer to the town centre, had more parking and would benefit the football club, they were all for it."
Of the 88 people who returned feedback forms at the event, 86 supported SCL’s plans and two made no comment.
"We have never tried to hide the fact that selling the football ground to Asda will make us money. Business is about making money. But everyone can win with our plans, and I’m sure Asda and the council will see ours is the better course," said Mr Wake.