ASDA has called its successful appeal to build a store on the outskirts of Hayes a ‘victory for the community’.
The supermarket found out it had overturned the refusal of planning permission for a 8,000sqm store and industrial units at the Westlands Industrial Estate, in Millington Road, Hayes, on Thursday last week, after a hard-fought planning inquiry in October.
A spokesman for the landowner, the British Steel Pension Fund (BSPF), said the huge level of support from local people swung the balance in their favour.
“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.”
The promise of up to 500 jobs, and the increased convenience, choice and value of the new store, are the factors that have led to widespread backing.
The news has not been met with optimism in all quarters, however.
David Brough, chairman of the Hayes Town Partnership, called it a ‘mixed blessing’, and said the partnership would work to get the best deal for Hayes.
“We were all expecting this, and now we have to make the best of it,” he said this week. “Money has been committed to enhance the surrounding area and link the site to the town. It was a big sum, but we need to find out how it’s going to be spent.
“Of course, it will have an impact on the small businesses in the town, and we can only hope that the town will pick up trade as a result of there being more people out and about.”
John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, also sounded a note of caution saying: “The store will massively increase traffic on a road which is one of the most congested in Hayes, and is in a zone which has been designated as having the second worst air pollution in the country.
“Now the decision has been made we will have to see what can be done to protect the local community.”
The supermarket has been in talks with Uxbridge College about retail opportunities for students, and Lorraine Collins, executive director of enterprise and development at the college, said it was ‘excellent news for jobs and skills training in the area’.
“Any partnership between the college and the store should be extremely productive,” she said.
■ Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your views. See page 37 for the full story of the planning inspector’s decision.