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Asda store and retail park redevelopment plans approved for Chippenham
Massive plans for the regeneration of Langley Park and Hathaway Retail Park were given the go-ahead in principle tonight, after two years of discussion between agents and council officers.
The plans will create hundreds of jobs and involve 41,990 sq ft of employment space and a 38,000 sq ft supermarket, 20 per cent of which is allowed to be comparison goods. The supermarket is expected to be an Asda.
There will be 115 new houses built, of which 30 per cent must be affordable, as well as a 102 bed hotel and a 30,000 sq ft leisure building.
Councillor Chris Caswill called in the application to be heard at committee.
His main concerns were taking trade away from the town centre, and a belief that improvements to the Little George roundabout built into the plans did not go far enough.
He said: “You are creating an out of town retail, setting up competition, and the idea that just because there’s a nice new Old Road people will be driven by a mad desire to go down it, across a bridge and down Station Hill and New Road to get to the High Street and shop, it just seems to me fanciful beyond belief.”
He said traffic lights at Little George roundabout were not a solution, as they actually disturbed traffic flow at non-peak times, and “Any disturbance at that roundabout will destroy the traffic flow in the whole town.”
Coun Caswill urged the committee to defer the matter to “more thoroughly assess the risks”.
He said: “If not, you are putting a huge amount of strain on the town and you are taking a much larger risk than you should.
“Everybody I know is in favour of redevelopment of this site. It is crucial for the town, so it’s really important that the details are attended to carefully.”
The council case officer Mark Staincliffe said: “We concluded a supermarket will not have an adverse effect on the town centre. We have no third party or council evidence that this will happen.”
In relation to traffic, senior highways officer Phil Tilley said: “We cannot expect this development on its own to cure the ills of the town centre of Chippenham.”
Simon Killane, Wiltshire Councillor for Malmesbury, said: “You’ve got a piece of rubbish ground that has needed redevelopment for ages, and you’ve got a developer that says, Yes, I want to do this. This town needs to get its act together and look at this as a massive opportunity.”
Councillor Peter Hutton, who proposed the application should be accepted, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity. To risk it and not get anything would be of detriment to the whole Chippenham community.
“I don’t want a supermarket but you have to accept that the viability of the site is probably due to the supermarket.”
All members except one, Chris Hurst, voted for approval.
The council has asked for a £241,547 contribution to primary education and £421,410 to secondary, £61,434 towards leisure services including indoor bowls, and £308,590 for a new public open space.
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