‘Does the town need five supermarkets?’

Sainsbury's drop-in session for near residents at The Buckingham Hotel.'130509M-E408
Sainsbury's drop-in session for near residents at The Buckingham Hotel.'130509M-E408

Buckingham’s town centre will move out to the ring road if the proposed Sainsbury’s superstore on Lace Hill/Windsor Park is built, warn protesters.

Buckingham’s traders and the Buckingham In Transition group are urging people to lobby their district councillors and object to the application.

Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) has not yet made a decision on the application.

A decision was deferred in December for Section 106 negotiations to take place regarding developer’s contributions.

John Mortimer, of Buckingham In Transition, said people are only just starting to wake up to the impact another supermarket would have on the town.

Tesco already has planning permission to expand its store on the A421 Buckingham bypass .

Asda obtained planning permission last year for a store on the former Focus site.

And work to create a smaller Sainsbury’s neighbourhood store on the former Chandos Cinema site is due to start next month.

Elliot Wallis, who chairs the traders’ association, Shop Buckingham, said: “Does our fairly small market town need to go from two to five supermarkets?

“If it moves the infrastructure of shopping away from the town centre to the ring road, we could have a situation, with the 700 new houses, where the centre of Buckingham moves up there.”

Mr Mortimer said: “The application is not for a supermarket, it is to create a out-of-town shopping area that will cause shoppers not to need to come into Buckingham.”

But he added there is still time to object and urged people to contact their district councillors without delay.

Mr Wallis said: “It seems the Sainsbury’s thing has largely gone under the radar.

“We were under the impression it’s a done deal but it’s not. The decision hasn’t been made yet.”

Mr Wallis said a number of Buckingham’s independent shops have their leases coming up for renewal in the next two years and may not renew if they foresee a downturn in trade.

“Then you’ve got empty shops on the high street and that’s the death of the high street,” he said. “I don’t think they’ve taken into account public opinion.”

An AVDC spokesman confirmed that any comments on the application, no 13/01465/AOP, will still be considered until a decision is made.

Comments can be made via AVDC’s Planning Portal.