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Column 7th July 2021

Appeal dismissed for the Lidl store near Mably Way

The Lidl application has been turned down.

In 2018, an application was submitted by Lidl and the landowners to the District Council for the erection of a retail food store between Wantage and Grove.

The proposed development was a new Lidl food store with associated car park and landscaping to be built on pasture land just north east of the Mably Way roundabout.

Access for the store was initially proposed off Grove Road via the existing Elms Farm Business Park access road to the north of the site.

The County Highways Officer objected to the application and as a result the entrance to the site was moved further south about half way between the Elms Farm turning and the roundabout.

The application generated a lot of interest in the community with strong support for another supermarket in the area but also concern about the location.

Over 70 residents commented on the application (over half of which were objections) and a petition of 101 signatures in support of the application was also submitted.

Several of the current local retailers also objected because of the potential impact on their businesses.

The application finally went to the Planning Committee in January 2020 and after discussion the Committee accepted the Officers’ recommendation to refuse the application on the grounds that it would harm the vitality and viability of the Grovelands centre and failed to protect the local landscape setting from harmful development.

They explained that the proposed scheme was not well integrated into the local character of the area and was at odds with the rural interface and the important role the site plays in terms of visual and physical separation between Wantage and Grove.

The applicants appealed against the decision and the appeal hearing took place virtually in May this year.

The Inspector (Stephen Wilkinson) heard all the arguments over a day and a half and visited the area before making his decision.

He didn’t support the argument that the site makes a significant contribution to the landscape setting of either Grove or Wantage and suggested that the physical and visual separation between settlements has already been significantly compromised by recent development.

However he decided that the impact of the proposal on Grovelands was significant and in conflict with both the Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework and dismissed the appeal.


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