SCREWFIX has been critical of Herefordshire Council for holding up its bid to open a new shop and create jobs in the county.

The Hereford Times previously reported how the chain with 800 shops nationwide wanted to open in Bromyard's Station Industrial Estate.

Recruitment has also started for the 12 new jobs the scheme would create, and the DIY chain, owned by Kingfisher PLC which also owns B&Q, has applied for planning permission to turn an industrial estate unit into a shop.


But the target date for a decision has now sailed by, which is not unusual with Herefordshire Council's planning department struggling with staff shortage and lack of resources.

It has left Screwfix's consultants hitting out at the council for knowing more about the business than the firm itself.

Pressing Herefordshire Council planning officer Josh Bailey for an update, Claire Day, of Screwfix's consultants Hybrid Planning and Development, said the firm was "becoming increasingly frustrated with the inherent delays".

The application was meant to be decided on October 4 – three months ago.

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"Fundamentally, this is now circumventing the occupation of a vacant unit and jobs for local people," she told officer Josh Bailey in an email.

There had been concerns over a lack of parking at the site with only four customer spaces provided. Staff and deliveries would use space at the rear of the unit.

But Charlotte Mills, also of Hybrid Planning and Development, said Screwfix had expertise of more than 800 units countrywide and were "somewhat perplexed" that the council appeared to believe it was "so clearly wrong in how it undertakes its business".


It said deliveries usually happened overnight, when no customers would be present. This would mean staff – who would be encouraged to travel to work using other modes of transport – could park in the unused customer spaces.

It was also unlikely demand for parking would exceed the four spaces capacity as turnaround was very quick, just five minutes, documents said.

"It is also wholly inappropriate to simply seek to steer an applicant to an alternative site based on an officer's idea of what might be suitable from a purely preconceived business knowledge, deliverability and safety perspective," Ms Mills said.

She added: "I find it deeply concerning that the council and their advisors clearly know more about Screwfix's business model and their modus operandi than Screwfix does itself.

"Otherwise, Screwfix would never have considered this site."