The initial plans to build a Lidl store in the gap between Wantage and Grove (P18/V2300/FUL) were been refused and the Appeal Hearing took place on 18/19 May 2021. The Planning Inspector dismissed the appeal.
Lidl submitted a new application with a slightly smaller store on the same site, see (P22/V0286/FUL). This application was recommended for approval at a planning committee in August 2022. Now the Developers and Planners just have to agree the legal paperwork.
The Vale Local Plan protects gaps between settlements and this is a very small gap between Wantage and Grove which is about to get even smaller.
There are also access issues. This is far enough away from most of Wantage and Grove that almost everyone will drive there. Grove Road is already congested and this supermarket with parking for 125 cars close to a bus stop and pedestrian crossing will add to the congestion.
The main cycleway between Wantage and Grove also goes in front of the store so could make cycling more dangerous on this route.
For the background to the first application
In January 2020, the District Council Planning Committee decided to refuse the planning application for a new Lidl store to be built on land just north east of the Mably Roundabout.
Grove Parish Council spoke in favour of the development but asked for a left turn only to be required on the exit of the carpark where it would have joined the A338.
Cycling UK Wantage objected to the application because of the impact on cyclists trying to cross the exit to the car park.
Councillor Jenny Hannaby also spoke against the application, saying that large food stores in our area should be planned carefully and not be part of speculative development where they could impact the viability of existing stores. She was also concerned about the impact of an additional retail store on the A338 which is already over capacity at certain times of day and reminded the Committee that this would remove the separation between Wantage and Grove.
The Committee discussed the application at some length and finally supported the Officers recommendation to refuse the application with a split decision 6 in favour, 2 against and 1 abstention.
For the agenda and papers of the meeting go to Vale Planning Agenda 8 January 2020
Although another supermarket (with parking) would be useful. This is in the wrong place.
See our Wantage and Grove Map for detailed locations.