Plans for a new Asda in Salisbury have been approved by the Strategic Planning Committee in Trowbridge County Hall.

The proposal was discussed on Wednesday, April 17 and councillors voted unanimously in favour of the application.

The proposal was submitted to Wiltshire Council almost two years ago, in June 2022, and requested permission to build a supermarket, petrol station and coffee drive-thru on London Road, on the green space near Hampton Park Roundabout.

The development sparked controversy among local residents, with 64 representations made in support of the proposal and 72 informing the council of their objection.

In March 2023, Salisbury City Council chose to oppose the application over environmental concerns.

Asda’s Town Planning Manager was present at Wednesday’s Strategic Planning Committee meeting and described the team as having worked “really hard” for the off-site biodiversity mitigation measures at the adjacent Country Park, which contribute to the application’s biodiversity net gain (BNG).

He said: “This could have been in front of you with a 1 per cent gain, but it isn’t, it’s a 10 per cent gain, that was our choice to overachieve.

“The off-site contribution could have been somewhere else, not in Salisbury, but it isn’t, it’s half a mile away.

“This an absolutely fantastic BNG case study.

“I’m very proud of it from an Asda point of view, but I think Wiltshire should be too.”

Regarding the objection lodged by Tesco, he added: “If Tesco did get their way and this application was refused, then our multimillion-pound investment wouldn’t be coming to Salisbury, our 200 plus jobs wouldn’t materialise, that really great BNG case study I talked about just wouldn’t happen, residents of Salisbury and the outer villages wouldn’t get a new, modern food store easily accessible to do their main food shop.”

Local councillors Charles McGrath and Ian McLennan also attended the meeting in Trowbridge to speak in favour of the plans.

A local objector’s concerns were read out by Councillor McLennan, which included worries regarding increased traffic in the area, the impact on nearby wildlife, the potential for flooding, and “corporate crushing” for local traders.

However, Councillor Ian McLennan supported the application.

Councillor McGrath clarified that he had “no opposition to this application” and that he believed it “delivers a lot of what Salisbury needs.”

He said: “Over the last two and half years where this application has been evolving, we’ve been kept in the loop at every step of the way, which I think is actually a fantastic credit to the applicants on this occasion, where we’ve been so involved in discussions around biodiversity net gain and some of the other issues that we, as the ward councillors, have brought forward.”

He added: “I’m slightly disappointed from a procedural point of view that we’ve had to come to Trowbridge today to discuss this.

“I know there are probably many reasons for that, but I think it would have been good if we’d had the opportunity to discuss this at a venue in Salisbury, given the impact this will have on the city.”

Councillor McGrath mentioned that the “vast majority” of the correspondence he’d received from residents had been positive, and that “most of the issues, if not all of the issues, have been resolved now.”

He concluded: “I really cannot see any downsides to this application.”

It was noted that the development could draw traffic away from congestion on Southampton Road.

The Strategic Planning Committee voted unanimously to approve the plans.