8:30am Friday 3rd January 2014
By Freya Leng
CHIPPING Norton could have a new discount supermarket if councillors decide to give the scheme their backing.
West Oxfordshire District Council’s uplands planning committee is due to discuss the application for a new Aldi store and change of use of the former Highways Depot site at Cromwell Business Park, off Banbury Road, at their meeting on Monday.
If approved, the new 1,000 sq ft store would create 30 jobs and have 76 car parking spaces.
The council has received seven letters of objection to the plans, mainly concerning the site’s location outside the town centre.
Some expressed concern at the loss of the employment land to retail use, saying it would set an “unwelcome precedent”, others suggested the High Street would be unable to cope with an increase in traffic.
The Midcounties Co-operative, which is currently expanding its store in the town, also lodged a strong objection.
In a letter it said: “The applicant has failed to examine alternative sites on the edge of the primary shopping area with any thoroughness or to explain why they are unsuitable for the proposed development.
“The evidence points to significant impact on the town centre and this is to be expected if a new, out-of-centre foodstore is built in a small market town where all food retailing is currently located in the centre.”
Chipping Norton Town Council voted in favour of the proposals at its meeting, despite concerns about delivery times and noise from air-conditioning units.
In her report, planning officer Katie Buckingham recommends the scheme for “provisional approval”, but says she has not made a firm recommendation as further clarification was needed on parts of the application.
“It is therefore likely that further discussion will be required with the applicant and hence officers suggest debate at the January meeting is based on any concerns members may have and determining the key factors to discuss further, before the application is brought forward for determination at a future meeting,” she said.
Members are due to make a site visit today (Thursday) ahead of their meeting next week.
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