PLANS to slash the size of a Co-op supermarket in Kidlington by half to make way for new housing has been approved by a whisker. The decision, secured by a vote of seven for and six against, has paved the way for 52 flats to be built above and alongside the existing store in High Street. It comes despite concerns raised by both councillors and a residents' petition signed by 26 objectors regarding the loss of retail and scale of the buildings.
Plans were discussed for more than an hour at the Cherwell District Council planning meeting yesterday. Councillor Alastair Milne Home said: "Our local plan policy is not to kill the town centre but there should be a provision of retail on the ground floor [in this plan], which would lead me to refuse this. "As well as the height and scale of the design."
In response to the concerns, Midcounties Cooperative Society said its reasons for the plan was a response to falling trade, with the store now too large for the needs of Kidlington.
The organisation added it was committed to staying in Kidlington.
Cherwell District Councillor officers said: "We believe it is a good scheme and the best deal we can get for the site."
Another concern raised was regarding the amount of affordable housing being provided.
Plans showed eight flats being built above half the existing store and the remainder being demolished and replaced by 44 two-bed flats reaching up to four storeys. Councillor Sean Woodcock added: "I am against it as we are getting eight units of affordable housing out of 52 flats - just 15 per cent yet the draft local plan states 35 per cent should be affordable. It is important particularly for Kidlington as a place very close to Oxford with a great need for affordable housing."