SUPERMARKET giant Tesco have submitted a planning application for a new store and hundreds of homes in Royal Wootton Bassett despite fierce opposition from residents.
Leda Properties Limited and Tesco Stores Limited first showed an interest in developing the site to the west of the Marsh Farm Hotel, on land which is in the parish of Lydiard Tregoze, in February.
But proposals to build a 2,800 square metre supermarket, 320 new homes, a community hub of up to 500 square metres and a senior living development of 33 units alongside public open spaces and landscaping has divided opinion in the town.
Many residents oppose the plan, including former Royal Wootton Bassett Mayor Les Willis who said: “It’s just the most ridiculous thing anybody has come up with. It’s going to kill off the High Street totally.
“I have been just talking to people in the High Street and nobody wants it. There isn’t the infrastructure to support 300 more houses and we definitely don’t need or want the Tesco.”
But other residents, such as Alan Telling, believe that a new Tesco and extra housing will be of great benefit to the town.
The 31-year-old, of Lime Kiln, said: “I think I would shop there. I go to Asda for my shopping and it’s a long way to go if you have to go on the bus.”
Hazel Newson, chairman of the town’s business association, said: “We have had a mixed reaction to this application.
“Obviously a Tesco store may affect some of our traders more than others. We hope new homes will bring more customers to the town, but this comes at a cost of losing green space and increasing traffic on our roads.”
Sophie Akokhia, corporate affairs manager at Tesco, said: “The people we have spoken to have made it clear that there is not enough affordable housing in the area, and these new homes will mean that adults who are still living with their parents will be able to move into their own home in the area.
“The council’s own information shows that there is a need and a capacity for these homes and a new supermarket.
“It won’t compete against the High Street because the people who use their butcher and their greengrocers won’t change their habits just because there’s a new supermarket. We really support those specialised, independent shops that you find on the high street, and they attract a different kind of customer.
“It’s also going to create 150 new jobs, and I’ve had tons of applications being sent in.”
To view the plans, visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/planning anddevelopment.htm and search for 14/08060/OUT.