Supermarket Objections

Our response submitted to Wiltshire Council in respect of both planning applications was as follows:

The Malmesbury Chamber of Commerce has carried out careful, and detailed, consultation with our members regarding the above applications. We set out here our response.

In respect of both applications we formally object.

Our reasons are:

The impact upon the High Street will be severe, and an independent Retail Impact Assessment has not been done to measure this.

The High Street is already vulnerable with several empty shops, and struggling retail outlets.

The High Street is the ‘heart’ of the town and hosts several thousand visitor to town each year. It is also the social ‘hub’ of the town and its future must be protected if the essence of the town is to be maintained.

A number of shops will be directly affected by the sale of comparable products including butchers (2), bakers (2), newsagents (2), cafes (4), chemists (2) and in the case of Sainsburys, Household goods (2) and ladies clothes (3).

Of course, should these shops close, then other shops will be threatened because of reduced footfall.

We have assessed that the estimated loss on income to the High Street at substantially more than the figures given in the Sainsbury application.

The Neighbourhood Plan is still being formulated, and the Chamber is having major input into this. Malmesbury has been granted ‘front runner’ status and will therefore be producing this in the near future. It seems wrong that such a major developments as the supermarkets are allowed to proceed with out being part of this plan.

On this basis both applications are not acceptable, but if one had to be chosen, our members feel that the Waitrose application would be their choice.

This is because it is a food only store, reducing impact on the High Street, and also offers much needed long term additional car parking in the south of the town.

Paul Baker, Chairman
Malmesbury & District Chamber of Commerce