CONTROVERSIAL plans for a Tesco Express in Weedon have been put on hold after a dispute with the Highways Agency.
The application would have seen the store on the site of The Globe Hotel on the A5/A45 crossroads and was the subject of a heated debate between members of Daventry District Council’s (DDC) planning committee and the authority’s planning officials.
The latter had recommended the plans for approval but committee members suggested there were a number of Highways concerns surrounding road safety at the site. This has come despite the Highways Agency expressing no concerns about the plans.
Cllr Steve Osborne said: “I can not believe the Highways think there is no problem with this site. The A5 is consistently blocked nose to tail if the M1 is closed. I wonder whether they have come from the Stevie Wonder Highways department to make that decision.”
Planning officer Keith Thursfield suggested the committee could not use road safety as a reason as the Highways department stated there was no problem. If the application had gone to appeal then, then DDC could have incurred costs for behaving irresponsibly.
Cllr Brian Lomax added: “This approach is similar to blackmail. Just because the Highways Agency has stated this view does not make it right.”
A compromise was arranged when it was proposed to defer making a decision until the committee had a chance to do a site visit with the Highways department to raise their concerns.
Following the meeting, the Daventry Express contacted Northamptonshire County Council, (NCC) which runs the Highways deaprtment, to ask how its decision has been made.
An NCC spokesman said: “When assessing any planning application from a highways perspective, proposals are examined against national guidance, taking into account the unique circumstances of the area in question.
“After robust examination, we were satisfied that this planning application allowed safe access to and from the highway.
“A site-meeting is being arranged to talk through some of the concerns which have been raised.”
The planning setback has been welcomed by people in the village who have been against the plans due to the impact on Weedon.
Chairman of Weedon Bec Parish Council Stuart Jacks said: “There are lots of road safety problems on this site, especially with lorries trying to turn right and blocking the A5.
“I am glad there will be an opportunity for council members to raise their concerns at a site visit with the the Highways department.”