Nov 15 2012 By Jack Griffith
ASDA has triumphed over Hillingdon Council after winning an appeal to build a superstore in Hayes.
The grocers have successfully overturned the borough's refusal of planning permission for a supermarket and warehousing at the Westlands Industrial Estate, in Millington Road, Hayes.
The proposals, first made public in January 2011, have had widespread public support because of the prospect of up to 500 jobs, and the improved choice for shoppers.
The council, however, refused the plans in November 2011 because the site was employment land which needed to be retained for manufacturing.
The supermarket and the landowners, the British Steel Pension Fund (BSPF), announced that they would be appealing the ruling, and the council defended its decision at last month's public inquiry, held at the Civic Centre, Uxbridge.
Planning inspector David Wildsmith chaired the hearing, and announced that he was upholding the appeal today (Thursday).
A spokesperson for BSPF called it a 'victory for the local community'.
"We have always believed that these are the right plans for Hayes and will bring substantial benefits to the local community. The petitions and letters of support that were submitted to the Inspector and those that spoke during the Public Inquiry all played a huge role in this decision.
"The Inspector was left in no doubt about where local sympathies lay."
Councillor Keith Burrows, in charge of Planning, said: "The council is disappointed that our arguments regarding protection of employment land were overruled by the Inspector; however it is important now to ensure that the retail store provides jobs for residents of Hayes. The council will seek to work with ASDA to ensure this happens."
In his report, Mr Wildsmith noted the 'strong local desire to Hayes' retail offer improved', and said it would 'give rise to strong economic benefits for the whole area', concluding that the store would not have an adverse impact on Hayes town centre.
He added that the development would not result in an 'unacceptable loss of employment land', and in any case, the site's designation as a SIL (Strategic Industrial Location) - an area offered protection from other uses through the London Plan, a strategic planning framework for the Capital - was currently only indicative; a key point that ASDA and council planners clashed over during the inquiry.
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