The bottom line seems to be that the election could have been improved if more was spent on running it. Understandably, the government will be keen to keep costs down. Primarily, they will be concerned about arguments from the Labour Party that the money spent on the election could have been spent on more police officers.
Basically, Hay has been given a choice...the town gets a new school (around 240 pupils) and a "major retailer" who funds the school gets to plonk a "retail development" bang in the middle of Hay. The implications of this affects the future of a small market town filled with individual shops, with no real traffic infrastructure which is bang in the middle of a National Park.