Supermarket claims to have better site in village

PUBLISHED: 10:00 19 May 2012

An aerial view artist's impression of the proposed Cheddar Sainsbury's store

An aerial view artist's impression of the proposed Cheddar Sainsbury's store


ONE supermarket chain says it has the upper hand in a race with a rival to build a new store in Cheddar, after claiming it has secured the better of two potential sites.

Sainsbury’s held a public exhibition last weekend on its plans to build a new supermarket on the site of Steart Farm on the B3151, on the outskirts of the village.

Tesco is also looking to build on the grounds of Cheddar Football Club in Draycott Road after it exchanged contracts with the club earlier this year.

But Sainsbury’s director of regional development, Ben Littman, believes his company has the superior location.

Mr Littman said: “We are within the development boundary, they (Tesco) are outside it. We can mitigate flood issues on the site and we have better pedestrian links.

“If you go to that Tesco, if built, it will have to be by car. We can create safe links with pedestrians in residential areas.

“For example, we are looking to extend the Strawberry Line cycle path to the store, subject to approval from highways officials.”

When asked about the traffic impact of two new stores, he said: “We think the effect on traffic in the village will be small.

“Most people are going outside of Cheddar to do their ‘big shop’ – two thirds of the money in Cheddar is spent outside the village.

“We are not considering the impact of our store and Tesco, we are just looking at our store.

“We are not advocating two stores and I think Sedgemoor District Council will have to consider them both at the same time, otherwise to make a decision on one would be to make a decision on the other.”

Representatives of anti-supermarkets group Keep Cheddar Special were also at the exhibition.

Carol Wilkie, a resident and member of the group, said: “You (Sainsbury’s) are surplus to requirements, like a dose of pox.

“You are insisting that we have another big ugly shed and you are trying to keep us prisoners in the village.”

Ms Wilkie also described the notion that money spent outside Cheddar could be retained by the new store as ‘a fallacy’ and criticised its potential aesthetic impact.

She added: “On the maps they show it is surrounded by trees and looks quite cutesy. The trouble is, supermarkets don’t want to hide themselves away, they want to be in your face, they want to be seen.

“When have you ever seen a supermarket get an award for being gorgeous? This is a rural area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.” Gary Chivers, of Bradley Cross, Cheddar, said: “I am more opposed to Tesco than Sainsbury’s. I agree that Sainsbury’s is the better of the two sites.

“It is further from the centre and it is next to an industrial estate but Tesco is almost right next door to Budgens.”

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