New supermarket proposed for Midsomer Norton
An historic opportunity to transform the economic vitality of Midsomer Norton town centre will be progressed by Bath & North East Somerset Council as it prepares to sell the South Road Car Park for the purpose of a brand new 45,000 square foot supermarket. For comparison purposes the existing Sainsbury's at The Hollies is 17,000 square feet.
The Council anticipates that a store of this size will encourage more people into the town to do their shopping – the decision has been met with support from the Town Council. The development will increase the opportunities for existing businesses on the High Street and encourage private sector investment to support the wider regeneration of sites in and around the town centre.
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Councillor Cherry Beath (Lib-Dem, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Sustainable Communities, said, "Supporting the vitality of Midsomer Norton High Street is one of Bath & North East Somerset Council's priorities as we seek to encourage projects that will promote new investment, jobs, and opportunities for local people in their communities.
"Releasing South Road Car Park for a supermarket will help increase footfall on the High Street as residents and visitors to the town are offered more choice in their weekly food shop. The development will also connect the High Street with South Road much more strongly and give the opportunity for the Council to progress our wider regeneration plans."
Councillor Paul Myers, Mayor of Midsomer Norton Town Council, said, "This is a proposal that the Town Council warmly welcomes. Our High Street needs a significant boost and a larger supermarket will provide more people coming to the town, which in turn will lead to opportunities for both new and future businesses. There are still details to be resolved, particularly in respect of parking, and the Town Council will play its full part in these."
As part of the planning process, the Council will require additional parking spaces above the supermarket operator's own needs. Based upon national trends for in-town supermarket proposals, the numbers of spaces should be at least 281 – this compares to the existing 241 spaces. This parking would be located underneath the store. Access is likely to be via travelator and lifts.
The matter of whether the car park will remain free would be entirely at the discretion of the operators – although the trend is for in town supermarkets to offer customer parking for around 2 hours.
The proposal is in line with the Council's draft Core Strategy and national planning policy which contains a preference for in-town supermarkets.
By February 2013 – Council will start marketing the site;
Summer 2013 – preferred bidder will be identified;
Autumn 2014 – subject to planning permission being granted, development of the new store could commence;
Sometime 2016 – store could feasibly become operational.
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