Could planned health centre become offices?

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A district and county councillor has accused Sainsbury’s of being “less than transparent” in their consultation over a proposed new superstore in Buckingham.

Sainsbury’s has submitted an outline planning application to Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) following a public consultation .

The consultation leaflet asked for feedback on the firm’s plan for a supermarket, petrol station and health centre adjacent to the new housing estate at Lace Hill/Windsor Park, oppositeTesco.

But the outline planning application submitted last week appears to call into doubt Sainsbury’s commitment to the health centre aspect of the plan.

The application is for a supermarket, filling station, parking and either a health centre or offices.

A letter on Sainsbury’s behalf accompanying the planning application says “the construction of a new medicacl centre (or building for class B1 office use) is proposed comprising some 3,709sq m gross internal floorspace, set over three to four floors with the provision of 77 car parking spaces”.

Buckingham town, district and county councillor Robin Stuchbury said Sainsbury’s had been “less than transparent” with the public.

He said: “The application they’ve put in is completely outside the original brief for the site.

“In all their blurb they’ve told the public they are going to get a health centre. They’re trying to change the development brief for the site.

“Over and above whether we agree or don’t agree to having a Sainsbury’s, it’s still adverse to the original planning application for Lace Hill.

“The public should be given the true facts so they can make up their own minds.”

A planning obligation agreement (Section 106 agreement) drawn up in 2009 between AVDC, the landowners and developers Hallam Land Management Ltd includes a restrictive covenant “not to cause permit or suffer the PCT site to be used other than for healthcare purposes.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “The outline permission associated with the masterplan for the Lace Hill development provides consent for both healthcare and B1 (business or office) uses on the site.

“We intend to bring forward both a foodstore and health centre on the site, as there is no current demand for B1 (business/office) use in the local area.

“A new Sainsbury’s store and a health centre would both create investment and jobs in Buckingham.”

View the outline planning application no 13/01465/AOP on AVDC’s website at www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk

A separate application for a Sainsbury’s Local store on the former Chandos Cinema site has now been approved.