Size of supermarket plan worries traders

PLANS to double the size of a supermarket at Didcot’s Great Western Park estate could harm village shops, a councillor has warned.

About 3,300 homes are expected to be built on the estate over the next 16 years and hundreds of new homes have already been completed.

The planning permission for the estate includes consent for a supermarket in Didcot Road, Harwell, with floorspace of 1,000 square metres.

Now planning consultants RPS have submitted an application on behalf of developers Taylor Wimpey to increase retail floorspace, providing 2,376 sq m.

Didcot Town Council leader Margaret Davies said: “The supermarket at Great Western Park was originally intended to be just a convenience store. Increased competition is always desirable but I would not want to see the new supermarket have a detrimental effect on village shops in Harwell and the Orchard Centre in Didcot. Doubling the size of the floorspace could attract a big supermarket chain, a Tesco or a Lidl, and that will be a concern for the village shops just down the road.”

A report submitted to Vale of White Horse District Council by RPS said an initial study had been undertaken to assess the potential trips generated by the increase in floorspace.

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It stated: “It is concluded from the study the additional trips generated by the expansion of the supermarket would not present undue problems on the surrounding highway network.

“Indeed, residents of GWP who would have previously left the site to do a main food shop at Sainsbury’s or Tesco may now stay within GWP to do their shopping, removing traffic from the external network.”

RPS spokesman Nick Laister said the firm was arranging a meeting with Harwell parish and Didcot town councillors to discuss the issue further.

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