'Exceptional support' for Lidl in Tadley should be prioritised, says brand
West Berkshire Council “gave insufficient weight” to the need for a new supermarket in Tadley, Lidl has argued.
In appeal documents to the district council’s decision to reject plans for a discount supermarket on the corner of the A340 and Silchester Road last July, the German brand says there is ‘exceptional’ public support for the store which should be prioritised over any ‘limited’ harm the store would have.
The proposals were warmly received by the local community on the basis that it would provide shoppers with a cheaper supermarket alternative to the Sainsbury’s on Mulford’s Hill.
More than 92 per cent of the 1,239 comments received by the district council were in support of the proposed development and the initial eastern area planning committee decision to approve the store in December 2019 – which then had to go to the district planning committee for a final decision – was welcomed by a packed public gallery.
Lidl also said that in its own public consultation exercise, almost 94 per cent of the 5,889 responses were in support.
The supermarket said in the documents: “Lidl’s public consultation exercise has provided evidence that Tadley residents are dissatisfied with the grocery offer available in the town, both in terms of choice and cost.
“The need for another food store in Tadley is long-standing and back in June 2000 a planning application was submitted by Tesco for a store on what was called the Boundary Hall site.
“The need identified in 2000/2001 was not met and since that time will have grown as a result of the additional housing that has been developed in Tadley over the last 10 years.”
Despite public support for the application, the district planning committee decisively rejected the application by a majority of nine to two on the grounds that the application went against the council’s planning framework as it was outside the settlement boundary, and that the supermarket wasn’t “exceptional” enough to deviate from the policy.
Councillors also expressed concerns that the application would be built on a green field site and could set a precedent for future development.
Lidl’s appeal – which opened two weeks ago – will be decided by the planning inspectorate through written representations rather than a hearing or an inquiry.
This means the planning inspector will take into account written evidence from Lidl, West Berkshire Council and anybody else who has an interest in the appeal, as well as material submitted to the council during the application process and relevant legislation and policies.
People wishing to comment can do so at https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk on appeal reference 3265942.
All representations must be received by the Planning Inspectorate by May 4.