THE BATTLE over plans to build a supermarket and 180 homes on the outskirts of Shipston is set to rumble on into next year.
More than two years ago Ainscough Strategic Land applied for permission to build a supermarket, petrol station, 54 houses and an ‘extra care’ retirement home of 80 cottages and 50 apartments on land off Campden Road.
The application – which has polarised opinion in the town, with as many in favour as against – was initially refused in January 2013 by Stratford District Council.
Councillors were concerned at the impact an edge-of-town foodstore would have on town centre businesses and also feared it would be a blot on the landscape.
Following the district council’s refusal, developers lodged an appeal and the debate has continued.
A public inquiry was held at the end of July and a decision was due from the government’s Planning Inspectorate in mid October.
But the inspector has now decided the inquiry will be reopened next year to consider information about the council’s new five-year housing supply.
This week Shipston’s Labour councillor and pro-supermarket campaigner, Jeff Kenner hit out at the council.
He said: “At a time of severe cuts to local services Stratford District Council has wasted council taxpayers’ money trying to delay a supermarket, petrol station and extra care housing proposal that has huge support in Shipston.
“Now they are fighting a desperate rearguard action relying on weak housing supply evidence.
“The district council has consistently failed to meet its housing supply numbers and is unlikely to succeed in its objections to much-needed extra care housing for the elderly.
“In the meantime, even more of our money will be squandered by this futile action. It is time for the council to concede the appeal so Shipston can move forward.”
A spokeswoman for Stratford District Council confirmed the appeal had been reconvened at the request of the inspector.
She added: “The district council now has a five-year housing land supply, which is a new material consideration relevant to the appeal.
“The council will present this new information to the inspector when the appeal is reconvened.”
She confirmed just over £130,000 had been spent by the council defending the appeal as of July this year.
The inquiry is now set to be reopened in March after which point the planning inspector will issue his decision on the application.