Sat, 06 Jun 2020
A NEW emergency exit has been added to plans for the proposed Lidl store in Tadley as part of an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in the event of a nuclear disaster at the nearby AWE.
This exit will be a left turn only on to Silchester Road and would only be used if an emergency was declared at the Aldermaston facility.
Bollards would simultaneously rise to close off the access from the main entrance on Aldermaston Road and lower to open the emergency access on to Silchester Road.
This would stop cars from leaving the site directly on to the A340, preventing emergency vehicles travelling to the AWE from being hindered.
The exit is a key feature of the EAP, with other significant measures including keeping the building closed in the event of an emergency until authorised by the emergency services, with any customers insisting on being let out of the store asked to sign a disclaimer before doing so.
A designated area would also be provided in the back of the store for two emergency showers in case someone needed to be decontaminated.
The application for the store was given the green light by West Berkshire Council’s eastern area planning committee in December.
However, a final decision by the district planning committee was delayed in March because of the lack of an acceptable EAP.
It is understood that emergency planning officers at the council are now considering whether the newly-produced EAP is acceptable, with a decision likely to be made within the next two weeks.
Regardless of their decision however, the application will still be recommended for refusal by the council’s planning officers when it goes before the district planning committee – with June 17 the targeted date.
Although the officers recognise the economic and social benefits of the store – that it would provide shoppers with another choice, additional employment and a new meeting place in Tadley – they have recommended the application be refused on the basis that it will have a negative visual impact on a greenfield site and is contrary to development policy.
If the EAP is considered unacceptable then this would create a third reason for refusal.
The application has had an overwhelmingly positive response from the community since it was first proposed last year.
A packed public gallery in support of the application witnessed the eastern area planning committee’s decision in December, while public comments on the council’s planning website are overwhelmingly in favour of the scheme.
Although there is concern that the store would clog up the A340, many local residents are enthusiastic about the possibility of a cheaper alternative to the nearby Sainsbury’s on Mulfords Hill.