In 2009 traders in Newcastle Emlyn started a campaign "Newcastle Emlyn Action Group" against plans for a new supermarket in the town.
In April 2009, Cawdor Cars submitted a planning application to Carmarthenshire Council to demolish its showroom on Tanyard Lane, its forecourt adjoining the Cawdor car park and a bungalow and old car parts shop and seeks approval to build a large ‘convenience store’ on the site.
In June 2009, the developer met with campaigners to discuss amendments to the planning application. Over 300 letters of objection and a petition of 350 signatures was delivered to Carmarthenshire Council in July by the Newcastle Emlyn Action Group.
It emerged that the planners are fully aware that the supermarket, if built, would close down much of the high street. Figures produced by Carmarthenshire Council’s own consultants show the new store grossing £12.7m per year: more than the rest of the town put together. And £5.9m of this will be lost from local food shops - including CKs, Somerfield and Spar - let alone the smaller shops in the high street. This is at least 50% of their business, a hit that few shops could survive. Yet there has still been no official recognition of this impact. The figures were only obtained by the Newcastle Emlyn Action Group, who put pressure on the county planning office to release the report. Carmarthenshire County Council policy calls for “protecting the viability and vitality of town centres and supporting small local convenience shopping facilities”. How, asks the Action Group, can they square this with their own consultant’s report?
In September 2010 a separate application by Lidl to build a "neighbourhood" store in our town (pop. 1,500) was approved, but Lidl has since withdrawn on the grounds that a condition restricting the site to use by discount stores only was unduly onerous.