Tue, 24 Mar 2020
THE lack of an evacuation plan in the event of a nuclear disaster at the AWE could scupper plans for a new Lidl in Tadley.
The application for the store was set to go before planning authorities on March 4, but was delayed as negotiations continue between planning officers and the store’s planning agents over an acceptable emergency evacuation plan.
Officers at West Berkshire Council remain unconvinced that in the event of an emergency, emergency services won’t be hindered by the increased number of people a new Lidl would bring to the area.
The budget supermarket is hoping to build the store on the junction of Aldermaston Road and Silchester Road – just 600m south of the nuclear facility.
West Berkshire Council planning officers said: “The application site is within the Detailed Emergency Planning Zone (DEPZ) around the AWE Aldermaston site and as a result it is paramount that the safety of the community working or visiting the application site are taken into account.
“The applicant has been requested to provide an emergency plan which must ensure that the safety of those working or visiting the new store is not placed at risk and that there is no adverse impact on the emergency responders as they respond to a radiation emergency by requiring resources to be diverted.
“The documents provided by the applicant are currently under review.”
It is hoped that the application will go before the council’s district planning committee on April 15, however regardless of the outcome of an acceptable evacuation plan it will still be recommended for refusal by planning officers.
This is on the grounds that the scheme is contrary to policy and will have a negative visual impact.
If no acceptable plan is forthcoming from the planning agents then this will create a third reason for refusal.
The application has had an overwhelmingly positive response from the community since it was first proposed last year.
Of the 126 comments received, 110 are in favour of the scheme, with just 13 objections.
Although its location is causing concern that it will clog up the A340, many local residents are enthusiastic about the possibility of a cheaper alternative to the nearby Sainsbury’s on Mulford Hill.
However, as the decision went against the planning officers’ recommendation for refusal, the final decision will now be made by the district planning committee.