Proposal to create new store in West Lavington ‘puts businesses at risk’ (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Proposal to create new store in West Lavington ‘puts businesses at risk’
5:00pm Saturday 26th October 2013 in News
A NEW convenience store on the site of the former Stage Post pub in West Lavington could threaten village shops throughout the area, residents heard at a public meeting in the village hall.
The parish council had called the meeting last Thursday to allow residents to express their feelings about Punch Taverns’ plans to demolish the pub, which has been closed and derelict for three years.
David Prichard of Marrons Planning, agents for the scheme, explained that the site would be cleared and six three-bedroom homes created on the site of the former function room.
The pub itself would be replaced by a retail building of a similar external design, in which Budgens has indicated it wishes to open a convenience store with selling space of 280 square metres.
A number of questioners from the floor raised concerns that a new general store in the village would put the existing Costcutter store out of business and Mr Prichard elicited loud laughter when he said he did not share this view.
Mr Prichard said: “The property is changing from one kind of community facility, a pub, and replacing it with another type – a convenience store.”
Resident Neil Harris said: “Why duplicate what we already have?
“I am grateful this site is being developed but what alternatives have been considered? There are lots of different kinds of shop it could be.”
Mr Prichard said it was unlikely a shoe shop or clothing store would be able to survive in a village the size of West Lavington, which has a population of around 1,500.
Chris Bonney told the meeting: “A new store the size of the one being proposed would threaten small shops in Littleton Panell, Great Cheverell and Market Lavington as well as in West Lavington. Give us diversity.”
Alison Drake, who runs Costcutter with her husband Chris, said: “Why ruin all the businesses in this and surrounding villages by putting in a new supermarket? What happened to the previous scheme to demolish the pub and build 12 low-cost homes?”
Mr Prichard said he had no knowledge of that proposal but said that if it was viable, it would have been pursued.
He said: “People will only patronise a store if it has something they want to buy. There is no reason why two businesses cannot survive in the same village.”
Some members of the audience were impressed by the fact that 14 parking spaces for members of the public would be provided, although Mr Prichard admitted there was no parking for staff in the proposals.
At its meeting on Tuesday evening, the parish council agreed to object to the applications on the grounds that it had not received enough information.
A retail impact assessment, detailing the possible impact on the vitality of West Lavington and surrounding villages, had not been provided.
A traffic assessment with regard to the housing application was also missing.
The parish council said it might be prepared to revise its objections if the assessments were provided before the application goes before Wiltshire Council’s planning committee.
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