Plans for village store thrown out

VILLAGERS are still fearful a new Tesco Express store will be built in Weedon despite refusing to support the plans.

The store, planned for the busy A5/A45 crossroads, would be likely to win approval if the application went to appeal, according to councillors.

A motion to approve the plans, which also include six flats, was defeated at the planning meeting on Wednesday, April 4. But no formal motion to refuse planning approval was passed and therefore the application is to be called back to the next meeting on April 25.

Despite the concerns raised by villagers, the parish council and members of the committee, the Highways Agency and the Highways Authority both said they had no road safety concerns if the store was built.

At the meeting Cllr Steve Osborne said: “I think this comes down to a difference of opinion. We asked them for a site visit and they have come out and we don’t agree with their findings.

“We still have the same concerns and I would never vote for this to be approved because I do not want to be responsible for any accident that might happen on these crossroads as a result of this application getting the go-ahead.

“Despite all of this, I know this application will almost certainly win on appeal because the first person any planning inspector will go to is the Highways Agency and the Highways Authority, both of whom have raised no concerns about this application.”

Residents feared for the future of the village if it got the go-ahead.

Carolyn Matthews said: “I consider this site a death trap and an accident waiting to happen.”

Chairman of Weedon Bec Parish Council Stuart Jacks said: “This would have a detrimental effect on businesses. The application says that it will create jobs but I wonder how many will be lost if this store goes ahead.”

Following a heated debate, it was proposed by Cllr Janet McCarthy that committee members agree with officers’ recommendations to approve the application.

She said: “We are all concerned about this site and all of us think that it is unsuitable but there are no planning reasons we can use to turn this application down.”

The proposal was defeated with four councillors voting to give planning permission with six objecting to the proposal.

Committee members said they did not agree that there were no highways safety issues.

Stuart Jacks, chairman of Weedon Bec Parish Council, told the Daventry Express: “We’re very pleased the district councillors listened to our concerns and those of the village regarding safety at the junction, but also the knock-on effects on local businesses in the village and wider area.

“Now it’s just ‘wait and see’ as the next step is usually an appeal.”

Jane Lovell from Tudor Greengrocers said: “I am relieved and am really pleased the plans have been put on hold, but I do think they will carry on appealing until they get it through in the end.

“The majority of my customers have said that they do not want this in the village.

“This would have a knock-on effect, not just on Weedon, but all the other villages as well.”

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