West Lavington shop owners fear for future over Budgens plan
Shop owners Chris and Alison Drake say they fear for the future if Budgens’ bid to open a supermarket in their village is approved.
A planning application has been submitted to demolish the derelict Stage Post pub in the High Street, West Lavington, and build a Budgens supermarket and six houses.
At 4,069 square feet, the proposed Budgens store would be twice the size of Mr and Mrs Drake’s Costcutter, which is also in the High Street and is a stone’s throw away. The population of West Lavington parish is 1,500.
Mr Drake, who has owned the Costcutter store for the last three years, is angry that Budgens plans to open in the village and said he would be starting a petition against it.
Mr Drake said: “I can’t believe Budgens wants to build a supermarket next to an established shop. It’s going to have a massive effect on West Lavington, Market Lavington and the Cheverells. West Lavington can’t sustain two shops.
“A petition will be started and I just hope that all the people in the village support their local shop and totally oppose a supermarket moving into the village.”
Mr Drake, who employs ten staff at the shop, used to be a manager for Budgens and worked as assistant manager when Budgens was in Devizes (now Sainsbury’s).
Mr Drake’s partner, Alison Drake, who has lived in West Lavington for 25 years, said she could not understand why a supermarket chain would want to open in the village.
She said: “It’s a village that is adequately served by the shop in the village (Costcutter) and the shops in Market Lavington and it just seems unnecessary to have a further supermarket. Most of our customers have said the same and there is also concern about the congestion that we get here in the morning and afternoon, sometimes the traffic is appalling.
“A lot of people have also said that affordable housing would be far more suitable for that site.”
The Stage Post pub closed in February 2010 and owners, Punch Taverns and Assured Property Group, say in the application that there is no prospect of the site being economically viable as a pub.
They say the occupier of the retail unit would be Musgrave Group which would operate under the Budgens brand. They say that as all Budgens shops are run by independent retailers the shop managers are usually local and, where possible, Budgens shops stock local produce.
It would be open seven days a week and employ in the region of 20 staff.
The Stage Post is not listed. The central part of the building dates from the 18th century although there were a lot of modifications in the 19th century. It was originally known as the Wheatsheaf Inn.
West Lavington Parish Council has organised a public meeting on October 17 at the village hall at 8pm.
Budgens failed to respond to the Gazette’s request for an interview.
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