POUNDSTRETCHER is to return to Blackwood, months after its High Street store was the victim of arson, this time in the town’s retail park.

A blaze destroyed the Poundstretcher store in the town’s high street on May 1 last year, and it was bulldozed after the building was deemed unsafe.

The store has moved to Blackwood Retail Park, and is expected to open on Friday, February 28.

A Poundstretcher spokeswoman said they were “delighted to be returning” while local councillor Nigel Dix, who has been campaigning over the use of the retail park, welcomed the new store.

He said: “It’s absolutely fantastic news. I’ve been involved with this for eight years and the support of the public has been fantastic. We managed to change the planning consent last year so stores could return to the area.

“I have been told that others will follow so it could be great news for Blackwood. It’s been hard work but it’s beginning to bear fruit and getting people jobs.”

Last year, the council’s planning committee overturned a decision not to allow a food store on the site, paving the way for a retailer to create a new store with up to 300 jobs.

* Steven Powell, 28, of Chartist Way, Blackwood, has pleaded guilty to one charge of arson at a Poundstretcher store in Blackwood on May 1.

He also faces one count of perverting the course of justice but no plea has been entered to this charge.

Powell appeared at Newport Crown Court on Wednesday and was remanded in custody to another hearing April 25.