Herefordshire Council has been eyeing up the Bye Street/Lawnside Road area for a while and has even whispered suggestions that this is the ideal place for Ledbury's new hypermarket.
Now Councilor Watts has let the cat out of the bag at council saying that the planners are talking of this being Ledbury's new retail centre.
While there is nothing new about the idea, the timing smacks of pure fantasy. Doesn't he (and Herefordshire Council) know there's a long term recession on and the whole country is debt ridden?
Where would the money come from to demolish and rebuild Ledbury's key facilities - the fire and ambulance stations, the youth centre, the swimming pool and the community hall?
Okay, the swimming pool is in trouble anyway, needing three years worth of the council's chief executive's salary to provide a new roof.
But the idea that we need more retail space is questionable. Shopping habits are changing more quickly than retailers can adapt to them. It is widely known and reported that High Streets all over the country are in trouble with up to one quarter of shops in some streets empty with boarded up or whitewashed windows.
Ledbury may be in better shape, but the clones are circling like mutant zombies.
As well as the biting recession and competition from out-of-town retail parks(which may also suffer with rising petrol prices) many people are just shopping on the Internet and getting their goods delivered to them.
Do we really want to spend time and money pacing around giant supermarket sheds under unforgiving flourescent lights, when we could have everything delivered to our door? Are the days of the milkman about to return?
With our planners and politicians being unable to evaluate and understand the economic/environmental crisis that they have willingly sucked us into, this illusory idea proposed by councilor Watts ["certain people in certain circles"] is pure fantasy planning.
This is a Utopian vision based on a presumption of continued unsustainable levels of consumption - of Western consumer wealth and waste, allied to fossil fuel energy consumption, that bloats a tiny elite, but is crippling us and future generations with astronomical debt and suicidal global warming.