Tadley Lidl approved following appeal
THERE was cause for celebration for many Tadey residents this week after plans for a Lidl in the town were finally given the green light.
The discount supermarket had been appealing West Berkshire Council’s decision to refuse the store, and, following an appeal hearing on July 7, planning inspector John Longmuir gave the application the go-ahead yesterday (Monday).
While Mr Longmuir noted that the application was located on a greenfield site – which is on the corner of the A340 and Silchester Road – and would result in the loss of a grass field and the “loss of its openness”, he said the site already had an “urban context” due to the busy junction.
In contrast to West Berkshire Council, which turned the application down due to its greenfield site and worry it could set a precedent for future development, Mr Longmuir prioritised Tadley residents’ need for an alternative to Sainsbury’s on Mulfords Hill, saying the town risked becoming a “backwater”.
In the decision’s report, the inspector said there were “substantial shopping trips outside Tadley” by residents which was “degrading the vitality and viability of Tadley” and “undermining the sense of a self-sustaining community”.
He added that a discount supermarket was absent from the town and would encourage shoppers to go into Tadley and use other shops and services, and would give “an opportunity for shoppers to meet other local people”.
Mr Longmuir also dismissed the district council’s concerns of setting a precedent, saying the proposal was “self-contained” with a clear boundary, and there was “no evidence” that it would lead to future development as it was a supermarket aimed at a clear local need.
The decision will be a welcome one for Tadley residents, many of whom have been in favour of the scheme since it was first put forward in early 2019.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council leader Ken Rhatigan (Con, Tadley North, Kingsclere and Baughurst) said a “wrong” had been “righted”.
He said: “I’m delighted for the residents of Tadley, who will have choice in the provision of food and supermarkets.
“We all want people to have choice in what they do and where they shop and that’s great news.
“I’m sorry it had to go to appeal but I think West Berkshire made a mistake in rejecting it in the first place, but that wrong has been righted now.
“There was an acknowledgement there was a requirement to have a discount food store, especially as Tadley has a growing population and a growing elderly population who don’t want to get into their car and don’t want to have to travel either to Newbury or Basingstoke.”
Proposals for a Lidl in Tadley first became public in February 2019, when the German retailer revealed it had purchased the land – home to the annual Tadley Treacle Fair.
An application was then submitted in May that year, and in front of a packed public gallery the plans were approved by West Berkshire Council’s eastern area planning committee in December.
As the decision went against officers’ recommendation for refusal, it then went to the council’s district planning committee in July last year, which turned it down by a majority of nine to two.