Store wars: A new Sainsbury's supermarket for Cheddar?
Tesco rival Sainsbury’s plans to build a supermarket in Cheddar.
The news has stunned the business community following the ongoing sale and development of Bowden’s Park to Tesco.
Cheddar traders met this week to discuss the move in a state of utter disbelief. They said they were against developments that led to the detriment of existing established businesses. The traders said they would be closely monitoring the situation with an eye on any planning proposals and would take an active interest in the public consultations.
Tout’s Budgens had no comment to make about the plans.
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The Sainsbury’s site will be at Steart Farm, currently owned by David Thorner, on the way to Wedmore on the outskirts of the village.
Through their public relations consultants Sainsbury’s said they were investing in the farm so it could concentrate on rearing a top quality herd of beef cattle. They in turn would be using the farm site of little used buildings to be developed as a supermarket.
A new roundabout and car park would be part of the plans along with around 100 full and part-time jobs and they expressed a desire to become part of the community. The proposed store would be located on the northeast corner of Steart Farm, off Lower New Road.
Sainsbury’s said in a press release: “Ahead of a planning application being submitted to the council, Sainsbury’s and the Thorners will be holding a public consultation to gather feedback on the proposals from local residents, community groups and businesses. Dates for the public consultation will be announced over the coming weeks.”
Caroline Vickerstaff, Sainsbury’s regional development surveyor, said: “If granted planning permission, Sainsbury’s investment in Cheddar will support local farming and enterprise, create new jobs for local people and significantly improve choice and competition in main food shopping. We are confident this is the right site for a new supermarket in Cheddar.
“We are committed to working with residents, community groups and local businesses to identify the best proposal for the site and we look forward to meeting local people at the public exhibition.”
David Thorner made headlines in 2007 after a legal battle to inherit the £2.3 million Cheddar farm after working for no pay for 25 years.
Residents of Lower New Road who will have the supermarket on their doorstep are nonplussed by the news. They had hand delivered letters posted through their letter boxes at the weekend informing them of the news.
Resident Pam Pennington said she was unhappy a supermarket was going to be built near her home. Her neighbour Robin Aung said he was “amazed” at the news. He said: “What is the thinking behind this decision? It’s not necessarily about jobs as this outlet might cause other shops to close down.
“The existence of a Tesco and a Budgens is surely enough, and what with a new larger Tesco in prospect are we not being saturated by large conglomerates?”
He slammed the idea as it would lead to more traffic, more noise, more pollution, and perhaps more pertinently a drop in the value of property.
The Londoner and Kings of Wessex teacher said: “I might as well move back to Hackney.”
The parish council had not been notified about the plans nor had other elected representatives in the area.
MP Tessa Munt said parish or neighbourhood plans would give communities greater control over such development. She was organising a seminar later this spring for interested parties in the valley.
Big Brother is watching, or is it just a supermarket? See page 3 for why one-off cameras have appeared in Cheddar.
Do you want a third supermarket in Cheddar? Your views to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call harry Mottram on 01749 832337 and have your say.