Sainsbury's get Cheddar supermarket application in first
Despite being six months behind Tesco in announcing plans to build in Cheddar, super giant Sainsbury’s has got its application in first.
The chain lodged a ten-page application to build on Steart Farm off Wedmore Road on Friday – along with 1,550 pages of surveys, reports and assessments.
The seven-inch paper mountain has 22 design and access statements, bat and wildlife surveys, flood and ground assessments and more.
The planning process will see it fall into Cheddar Parish Council’s lap shortly before going to Sedgemoor District Council for the final say.
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Little in the application has changed from what the public saw four months ago – a 3,773sq ft shop and cafe open 7am to 10pm most days with 100 employees.
Now it has been revealed that 51 per cent of the 262 people who filled in surveys are in support of the shop, with 32 per cent holding some concerns.
Parts of the plan appealed to 14 per cent and three per cent didn’t know what to think.
Comments like moving the service yard to the rear next to Cheddar Business Park, and using Somerset limestone in the store facade have been taken on board.
As for impact on Cheddar shops, the heart of a 98-page retail report claims: “High levels of convenience goods expenditure leakage exist within the catchment area.
“Seventy-four per cent of residents in the catchment area use stores outside this area, and only 13 per cent of purchases are spent in stores in Cheddar.”
Some of the positives, according to Sainsbury’s, are links to the village centre from its edge location, wider roads and better cycle and pedestrian paths with a traffic calming roundabout on Lower New Road and Wedmore Road.
However, hurdles in the firm’s way include narrow road junctions, an awkwardly placed house and protected tree, a corner of the site poking into a flood plain and bats.
The awkward house is Stearts Bush, number 2 on Wedmore Road, which Sainsbury’s would demolish, and the southeast corner of the site falls into a category 3 flood zone.
The tree will remain north of a lozenge-shaped roundabout, which will have appropriate foliage or public art on top of it.
As for the bats, demolition will rob them of roosts so the expert opinion is to put up ten “bat boxes” and do the demolition outside of summer and winter.
The bat report says: “The loss of a serotine bat roost site is considered to be of moderate conservation significance, as such species are considered rarer.
“As the roost is likely to be used by low numbers of bats (possibly single male or non-reproducing female bats), the impacts upon the local serotine population are not as significant as if the roost were occupied by large numbers of breeding females.”
Caroline Vickerstaff, who is Sainsbury’s regional development surveyor, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took the opportunity to give their thoughts and suggestions on our proposal.
“This information has been invaluable in helping us develop a planning application for what we consider the most appropriate site for a new food store for Cheddar.
“We are looking forward to continuing our discussions with residents and interested parties as our application makes its way through the planning process.”
The plan can be viewed on Sedgemoor’s online planning portal under application number 17/12/00067.
What do you think about Sainsbury’s plan?
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or The Editor, Cheddar Valley Gazette, Southover, Wells, BA5 1UH.