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Tadley Lidl would cause 'clear environmental harm' says West Berkshire Council

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WEST Berkshire Council has reiterated its opposition to the proposed Lidl in Tadley as the two parties prepare for the appeal hearing.

As previously reported, the appeal will be held as an informal hearing on July 7, run by an inspector.

Ahead of the hearing, the council has prepared a statement of its case, which argues that although “there are undeniable economic advantages deriving from the scheme at appeal, and possibly some social benefits, there is clear environmental harm caused if the appeal proceeds”.

The Tadley Lidl site (46324584)
The Tadley Lidl site (46324584)

The most contentious aspect of the application is the proposed site – greenfield land on the junction between the A340 and Silchester Road - right on the border between West Berkshire and Basingstoke and Deane.

This land is outside of any settlement boundary and is considered by West Berkshire Council as ‘open countryside’, which means that any development proposals conflict with the council’s core strategy due to the “overriding need to protect the open countryside from urban growth”.

The application, the council argues, conflicts with policies ADPP1 and ADPP6 of its core strategy, which protect undeveloped land, as well as paragraph 170 of the National Planning Policy Framework, which focuses on conserving and enhancing the environment.

The proposed Lidl in Tadley (47178455)
The proposed Lidl in Tadley (47178455)

If the development gets the green light, it will, the council alleges, be “harmful to both local visual amenity and be harmful to the wider landscape character of the urban built form of Tadley”.

As reported in the Newbury Weekly News in April, one of Lidl’s primary arguments is the ‘exceptional’ need for another supermarket in Tadley, with residents currently only having the Sainsbury’s on Mulford Hill and a few smaller stores to choose from.

As in last July’s district planning committee meeting when councillors refused the application, the council has again dismissed this argument.

The council admits that while there is a retail need for another store, the need wasn’t “so exceptional as to merit approval, given the harm caused by introducing a substantial new store into attractive open land, with all the associated significant commercial activity, external lighting, car parking, noise and deliveries, which will clearly occur.”

The council also expresses its concern that granting planning permission for the store would’ve set a “genuine, undesirable precedent” for similar schemes in the countryside.

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