AHEAD of the crunch meeting to determine the outcome of Stroud store wars, plans for an Asda have been recommended for approvalgiven the go-ahead by district council officers.
Stroud District Council’s (SDC) development control committee will decide which, if any, of the three food store applications submitted to the council will be allowed at a special meeting which was planned to take place tomorrow, Thursday.
The meeting has now been deferred and, according to a spokesman for SDC, is unlikely to take place until mid-September.
Officers have recommended to resolve to grant permission for a medium-sized Asda store on Daniels Industrial Estate in Bath Road, Lightpill.
Asda’s head of UK property communications, Doug Wilson, said: “We welcome the planning officer’s recommendation and look forward to putting our case to councillors at the meeting and would like to thank the local community for their continued support.”
Plans for a Morrisons store, which have been submitted by the current landowners Avocet Industrial Estates, include the demolition of the current buildings on the site – which is the location of Stroud Metal Company.
The application, which is for a medium-sized store at the site in Dudbridge Road – a stone’s throw from Sainsbury’s – has been recommended for refusal by officers.
Matthew Large, managing director of Stroud Metal Company said he was disappointed with the officer’s recommendation especially considering the impact it could have on his company which has plans to move to a new £8 million factory in Stonehouse.
“I am concerned that the officers have failed to consider the implications if this site is not developed,” said Mr Large.
“If the officers' decision is upheld by members then it is going to make the future very bleak for us.
“We have guaranteed to re-invest all the money from the sale of this land back into the Stroud economy with our new Stonehouse factory.
Officers have also recommended for refusal plans for a £15million unknown supermarket at a brownfield site near the Ryeford junction on the Ebley bypass.
A spokesperson for the developers Property Alliance Group said: “The company is surprised at the view taken by council officers.
“It is a curious position to recommend building a foodstore on an occupied employment site with perfectly serviceable buildings in a congested area already served by two supermarkets, rather than on a derelict, contaminated and disused site in Stonehouse.
“Officers have recommended refusal but the final decision is with members and we are currently providing officers with further information that meets the issues now being raised at this late stage.”
There is already a Tesco, a Waitrose and a Sainsbury’s in Stroud, a Morrisons in Nailsworth and four Co-operatives between Stroud and Stonehouse – three more would take the total number to 11.
However according to an SDC spokesman it is likely only one of the three applications would be allowed.
Stroud Against Supermarket Saturation (SASS) was set up after the first two proposals were announced in order to stop more supermarkets being built in the town.
A spokesman for the group said: “SASS is obviously disappointed that planning officers are recommending that the Asda proposal at Lightpill goes ahead.
“Not only will this cause chaos for local residents, with the increase in traffic, air, light and noise pollution, but it will have devastating consequences for local town centres.
“The independent analysis commissioned by SDC shows that 12 per cent of trade will be lost from local shops.
“Given the three applications, there will have been considerable pressure on planning officers to recommend one for approval, despite the lack of customer need for additional out of town supermarkets in Stroud.
“We hope the committee makes an informed decision that protects the long term viability and vitality of local town centres.”