Superstore levy ‘could boost local economy’

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

As plans for a second new Sainsbury’s store in Buckingham took a step forward this week, a district councillor is suggesting a new local levy on large superstores.

This week, Sainsbury’s submitted an outline planning application to Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) for a new foodstore, petrol station and healthcare facility on land at Lace Hill/Windsor Park opposite Tesco on the A421 Buckingham bypass.

A separate application for a small Sainsbury’s neighbourhood store on the derelict Chandos Cinema site on London Road has been delegated to AVDC officers for approval.

Sainsbury’s its latest planning application follows an overwhelmingly positive response from the public.

A total of 3,179 people provided feedback, with 91 per cent saying they support or tend to support the proposals.

Following a drop-in event for near neighbours at the Buckingham Hotel in May, Sainsbury’s has changed its plans to improve the store’s relationship with nearby homes.

An extension to the proposed acoustic fence around the store’s service yard will include additional fencing alongside the access ramp.

The fencing has been designed so noise levels from the service yard meet British standards for bedrooms closest to the service yard, allowing for open windows.

Sainsbury’s will also provide a shrub and tree landscape buffer between the fence and the site boundary where it adjoins the A421, to screen the service yard fence and store from neighbouring properties.

Sainsbury’s says the new store would improve food shopping choice for local people and create up to 200 new full and part-time jobs.

District councillor for Buckingham South, Robin Stuchbury, has said he would like to see local communities benefit from a local levy on big supermarkets.

The suggestion comes after the Northern Ireland Assembly last year legislated for an 8.5 per cent levy on large supermarkets, based on their rateable value, with the revenue going to benefit local businesses and ocmmunities.

Mr Stuchbury is proposing AVDC should ask the government for the power to introduce a similar levy, under the Sustainable Communities Act.

Mr Stuchbury said AVDC could use the money raised to support shops within the town centre.

He said: “There will always be a need for money to boost the local economy.

“It seems a virtuous circle, as far as I can see, that you get the supermarket and you get the money to support your local shops.”

The proposal is due to be discussed at AVDC’s next meeting.