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Store chain ‘could quit town’ over plan problems
1:00pm Wednesday 28th August 2013 in News
BOSSES at superstore Morrisons could switch to another town instead of Wallingford after district councillors imposed planning conditions on the chain’s bid to open a foodstore.
Town mayor Bernard Stone is warning that Morrisons executives are now considering a range of options, after South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee last month granted planning permission for a new 30,000 sq ft store on the Hithercroft estate. Although the scheme, set to create 300 jobs, was approved, conditions were placed on the proposals, which Morrisons development executive Andrew Birtwistle afterwards described as “challenging”.
Two amendments by Sandford district councillor John Cotton were agreed.
The first amendment says Morrisons should pay £750,000 over five years as a contribution to a bus route linking the industrial estate and the town centre, instead of £450,000 over three years.
The second amendment says the BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating for the store – a rating for green buildings – should be ‘excellent’ as opposed to ‘very good’, in line with South Oxfordshire District Council’s core strategy.
Mr Stone said: “Morrisons could accept the planning conditions and go ahead with the store in Wallingford.
“Or they could appeal against the planning conditions, or abort the scheme if they have an alternative site in mind in another town, without such high costs.
Alexander Hall, a spokesman for Camargue public relations firm, which is acting for Morrisons, said: “We are running relevant assessments on the planning conditions to see if this is a deliverable scheme.”
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