Aldi approved but plans for 203 homes must first be decided
- Credit: Supplied by Aldi
Celebrations of permission for an Aldi supermarket in Whittlesey remain premature pending the outcome of a decision for 203 homes on adjoining land.
David Wilson Homes, through their trading arm Barratt Homes, await the outcome of their application for the site which originally was going to be a business park, superstore and country park.
Fifteen months ago, their representative, Alan Davies, explained to Whittlesey town council that viability issues would prevent them providing any affordable or social housing.
He said his company faced the “burden” of transport infrastructure and preparation of the site for a supermarket as reasons for offering little opportunity for section 106 obligations for social or affordable housing,
“It is not viable to deliver a supermarket and infrastructure and social housing,” he said.
On Friday Fenland Council agreed for Aldi to go ahead with their Eastrea Road store – the decision being made under delegated powers because of the lack of objections to it.
Planners felt that 40 jobs being created at Aldi was a bonus and consumers in Whittlesey would benefit from increased choice.
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But the same planning officers are dealing with late objections from Rose Homes of Station Road, Whittlesey.
Rose Homes told the council they are “concerned” that access into the David Wilson site and a second access point would impinge on their ability to access their own site.
The company says it holds an interest in 63 acres of land that lies directly north of the Aldi and David Wilson Homes site.
They say that three years ago that put forward the land to the council for allocation for housing in a new Local Plan.
Planners noted that Rose Homes felt that what was being proposed “would impinge on their ability to create a new access into their site to the north of Eastrea Road, stymying their ability to deliver a residential scheme there.
“However, as Rose Homes’ site isn’t allocated for housing, and they do not have the benefit of planning permission for a residential development on that land, prejudicing a future development is not relevant in this context and, therefore, not a material consideration.”
Fenland Council felt that allowing the Aldi store was important.
It attracted 400 over 400 letters of support were received and almost 350 from individual households.
Dino Biagioni, managing director of Rose Homes, says his land was submitted for consideration for development via the new Local Land in November 2019.
And it pre-dates the later application by David Wilson Homes.
He told Fenland Council his company is not “in principle” opposed to the neighbouring application.
“However, we are opposed to the proposed access junctions that form part of this application,” he says.
He says Rose Homes believe it is possible to design a common point along the A605 “that is capable of providing access to develop land both north and south, and this would be safer than the current proposals”.
Support for the 203 homes has recently been agreed by Whittlesey town council but with the provision that a proportion of the S106 (community funding) cash provided by David Wilson Homes should be used for primary care and none for education.
The town council felt that as education was a “statutory function” it should not be provided through S106 money.
It was a softening of tone from last summer when the town council expressed concern over “infrastructure, schools, doctors, and the building on greenfield sites.
“The town council recommend refusal in line with the objections from the other consulted authorities.
“They also would comment that the A605 is over subscribed.”
Aldi has agreed a new footpath on the southern side of Eastrea Road between the food store site and the footway improvement works to be delivered as part of the Taylor Wimpey development
There will be a new pedestrian refuge island situated west of the food store access junction to facilitate the crossing of Eastrea Road
There will also be a new signal-controlled pelican crossing with refuge island across the A605 to the west of the proposed residential access junction to facilitate the crossing of Eastrea Road
The existing westbound bus stop on Eastrea Road will be relocated and upgraded to include a new shelter and there will be a new eastbound bus stop on Eastrea Road.