A controversial application to build a new supermarket and extra care retirement facility in Shipston-on-Stour has been approved by the Planning Inspector.
The proposal on land north of Campden Road has divided the town, with those in favour of the supermarket being opposed by those believing it would damage the town’s special character.
Following a planning inquiry by applicant Ainscough Strategic Land in July last year, Inspector John Ware upheld the appeal on Monday.
Councillor Jeff Kenner has been part of a three-year campaign by residents’ group Shipston Needs a Supermarket.
He said: “I am delighted with the decision. I am sure that everyone in Shipston, whatever their views were on the proposal, will now look to move forward together and work hard to see the supermarket and petrol station through to fruition as soon as possible.
“The inspector’s decision is vindication for the arguments we have put forward in support of improving shopping choice in the town, bringing back shopping from outside Shipston and boosting the local economy with more jobs in the supermarket and at the care home.”
About 175 jobs will be created on the site, which comprises the 1,800sq ft supermarket and petrol station, ‘extra care’ retirement development with 80 cottages and 50 apartments and up to 54 residential dwellings. Thirty five per cent of all the housing will be affordable.
The town prides itself on its independent businesses. Kate King has run Ivy Hearts in the Market Place for six years. It is one of 12 businesses in the town which are part of the Shipston Loyalty Card scheme, which links the town’s independent businesses together and gives discounts to loyal customers.
She said: “ I was against the development but now it has happened the challenge for us is to not grumble and as a small community market town we have to make sure we are still appealing to our customers.
“Some of us did not want this development but we should embrace it and keep making Shipston a great place to shop.”
Shipston Town Mayor Philip Vial added: “Although the town council opposed this development I am delighted the process has finally come to an end.
“We should now work together to preserve and develop the vitality of our town centre. The extra care housing will provide a much-needed service for older people and those who need a higher level of care at home rather than in residential care.”