Sainsbury’s lodges appeal to build homes at site once earmarked for supermarket
PUBLISHED: 16:00 08 June 2020
One the UK’s largest supermarkets has lodged an appeal over plans to build new homes on village land once earmarked for a new store.
Sainsbury’s was granted permission in 2012 to build a new supermarket on the Steart Farm site in Cheddar, which has since expired.
The company has subsequently put forward plans to build an unspecified number of houses at the site, claiming there is no demand for a shop in the area.
Sedgemoor District Council voted down the plans in March, arguing they went against resident’s wishes to secure the land for employment purposes, and the site lies on the B3151 Lower New Road to the west of the existing village business park.
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Sainsbury’s has now lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate hoping to overturn the decision.
The appeal was confirmed in agenda papers published before a virtual meeting of the council’s development committee on May 19.
The supermarket took over Cheddar’s Budgens, in Roynon Way, in 2016, and still operates a Sainsbury’s from that location.
Supermarket spokesman, Caroline Huett, told the development committee on March 3 that the site was ‘surplus to our requirement’ and had been marketed since 2015 without success.
She said: “We wrote to 631 companies within a 10-mile radius of Cheddar, and found that the only serious interest was from house-builders.”
Cheddar’s neighbourhood plan, which was approved in a referendum in September 2018, identifies the Steart Farm site for future employment rather than residential development.
Councillor Paul Fineran, who represents Cheddar and Shipham, said keeping this site for employment would ensure future residents ‘do not have to commute to a significant extent’.
A council spokesman added: “The proposal for the residential development of this site, which is allocated by the village neighbourhood plan for employment use, would lead to the premature loss of this well-placed land which would support sustainable communities.”
The Planning Inspectorate has not confirmed if the appeal will be held by a public inquiry or written representations. The outcome of the appeal will be published later this year.
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