CONTROVERSIAL plans to build an out-of-town Sainsbury’s supermarket in Chipping Norton were rejected by a West Oxfordshire District Council planning committee on Monday.
Residents and campaigners from Chipping Norton packed the council chamber in Woodgreen, Witney, to watch the debate on the application for a 5,145 sqm store on the site of the former Parker Knoll factory in London Road.
The Sainsbury’s plan has divided the town in recent months with the Stop Chippy’s Out of Town Supermarket (SCOOTS) group organising an energetic campaign against the store and the recently-formed Chippy Residents In Support of Progress (CRISP) supporting the Sainsbury’s plans.
The Mid-Counties Co-operative also put plans to double the size of its town centre store on hold until a decision was made on the Sainsbury’s store.
Steve Piltz of SCOOTS summarised the group’s opposition to the scheme saying: “These plans were not identified in the council’s core strategy and don’t fit in with government planning policies. There is already a great deal of traffic congestion in the locality and any increase in this would not be acceptable. Sainsbury’s has not specified the number and type of jobs available at the store and the scheme would displace 300 jobs that would be available if the site was developed into a good B1 scheme (light industrial use).
“If this development went ahead a large number of town centre shops would close.”
West Oxfordshire planning officer John Westerman said: “There are four more preferable sites for retail development in Chipping Norton and any development should be in the town centre wherever possible.
“An expanded Co-op store would meet shopping needs and it has not been demonstrated that both a Co-op and Sainsbury’s expansion could be supported.”
William Wood on behalf of Sainsbury’s said: “We are obviously disappointed with the decision as we are aware that there is public support for our proposals. We will now consider our options going forward.”