Lidl has been given permission to build a new supermarket near Newport Pagnell despite fears that it would hit trade in the town centre.
A last-minute petition with 400 names was sent to Milton Keynes Council opposing the plan for land off Wolverton Road, between the M1 and Redhouse Park.
Opponents at the Development Control Committee yesterday (Thursday) urged councillors to repeat their decision to reject a similar plan a stone’s throw away on the same site last year.
But councillors were told that since members of the committee went against their officers’ advice in 2018 the council’s planning bible, Plan:MK has come into full force. It has earmarked the site for retail use.
Opponent Mick McManus said Wolverton Road, which is one of only three crossings of the M1 in Milton Keynes, would become even more congested. He said there was no real difference between the 2018 plan, and this one.
“It is unsafe, not fit for purpose, and I ask that you reject it,” he said.
Also opposing, Maria Ferebee, said: “Lidl should not be allowed this at the expense of the high street, or pedestrian safety.”
But Nick Hardy, speaking for Lidl, said the new store would give customers more choice and the store would create new jobs. It was also in line with the council’s policies, and by providing a new access road, would help open up adjacent land for up to 125 new homes.
Lidl had also made changes to the proposed location of the store to take it further away from local residents, he said.
Mr Hardy added that an assessment carried out by the company had concluded that the new store would have “no significant adverse impact” on Newport Pagnell.
The company’s report was not presented to the committee. Councillors were advised that because the site was allocated for retail use, a retail impact assessment was not required.
Cllr Andrew Geary (Cons, Newport Pagnell North and Hanslope) said there was no way he could support the plan if it had a negative impact on Newport Pagnell town centre shops. But he was told that the impact was assessed as a part of the Plan:MK process.
Cllr Ric Brackenbury (Lib Dem, Campbell Park & Old Woughton) said “nothing excited” him about the plan which was “just another Lidl”. But he gave the company credit for listening to objections.
He proposed that the new store be restricted to selling “food and convenience goods” only, which the committee accepted.
The committee approved the planning application by nine votes in favour, none against, and one abstention.