Asda still committed to plans for Focus site

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Asda has said it remains committed to providing a supermarket on the A421 Buckingham bypass, despite news that Sainsbury’s has plans for a store opposite Tesco on the nearby Lace Hill/Windsor Park development.

At its meeting on Monday night, members of Buckingham Town Council’s planning committee were unanimous in their support for Asda’s planning applications for a supermarket in the former Focus DIY store.

A spokesman for Asda told the Advertiser the chain would press ahead with its plans.

He said : “We are a brownfield redundant site with an existing retail consent.

“Our proposal has commanded strong public support during our consultations and is supported by the town council.

“We remain fully committed to our planning proposal.”

The town council’s planning committee raised no objections to Asda’s two planning applications at its meeting on Monday.

The first application is for change of use of the former Focus store to permit the sale of food and drink.

The second is for external alterations to the 
existing building and site layout, including additional parking, new glazing to the south side of the building and erection of an ancillary cold room on the west side of the building.

Asda says the strength of public support for the plan is unprecedented.

About 400 people attended two public consultation events in September.

Oxon-based consultancy firm Community Connect, which ran the consultation for Asda, said: “With 22 years’ experience of undertaking planning consultations, we cannot think of another consultation which generated so few issues.”

Ninety-nine per cent of people supported the proposal.

The reasons given included an increase in choice and competition for shoppers, job creation, re-use of a redundant building on an entrance to the town and a strong liking for Asda.

The only concerns raised were around traffic and access to the site. In response, plans to alter the ‘hammerhead’ at the entrance to the site have been included in the planning proposal.

District councillor for Buckingham North, Tim Mills, told the Advertiser: 
“I’m pleased that they intend to carry on with the application. I was in favour of the application as it would provide not just a choice of shopping but a variety of price range.”

Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) said it was still awaiting comments from consultees, including the town council, so a date has not yet been set for the applications to be considered.