Residents of Shinfield parish and the former Arborfield Garrison are set to benefit from new supermarkets coming forward under planning applications agreed by Wokingham Borough Council.
Sainsbury's has just unveiled its proposals for a "neighbourhood hub" store at the forthcoming district centre in Arborfield Green, which will serve the growing new community in this area.
Meanwhile, the council has awarded permission for a Lidl store in Shinfield village, which will be provided to accompany homes being built on the Shinfield West development.
Long-awaited vision taking shape at Arborfield
The Sainsbury's proposal would be a larger, food-led extension of the retailer's well-known convenience stores, allowing longer trips thanks to its increased size and wider range of products.
It would be part of a district centre off Nine Mile Ride Extension, which has outline planning permission with a more detailed submission set to follow soon from developer Crest Nicholson.
The development is being brought forward following the previous outline consent for new housing at Arborfield Green, to help provide high-quality infrastructure for new and existing residents.
The proposal will help people to ‘shop local’ and reduce car journeys for residents, helping the council in its bid to reduce emissions and play its part in tackling the climate emergency. It would include a “click and collect” service to offer a wider choice and would create about 40 jobs.
The supermarket plan was revealed at a public exhibition last Thursday (8 December), which Crest held to seek feedback before submitting its application for the district centre early next year.
Sainsbury’s will need to submit a separate application to determine matters like parking and landscaping on the site.
A welcome addition to community life
Cllr Lindsay Ferris, executive member for planning and local plan, said: “We’re delighted that such a well-respected retailer intends to open at Arborfield Green and equally pleased to hear its plans received a positive response from the public.
“Our residents have been waiting a long time and, while we know it won’t arrive overnight, we hope this firm sign of progress will give them confidence in the district centre and show we’re serious about equipping our communities with all the services they need.
“We welcome Sainsbury's interest as it shows the financial uncertainty caused by covid and Brexit, which has delayed progress on the district centre, is improving. We look forward to receiving a planning application in due course.”
Patrick Dunne, property director for Sainsbury’s, said: “We’re very pleased to announce our plans for a new store in Arborfield, which will generate jobs for the community and improve food choice for local people.
“We will continue to provide updates and seek feedback from residents, businesses and other local stakeholders to ensure we deliver the best possible store.”
Residents thanked for continued patience
The district centre for Arborfield includes the proposed supermarket plus smaller shops, a pedestrianised high street and public space, community centre, a pub and green space with paths and allotments and new access routes and pedestrianised areas.
It will be located near Bohunt School and Arborfield Green Leisure Centre, with new access to the latter, and includes a refurbishment of the historic Infirmary Stables which could be put to community use.
The development is also required to include a new sports pavilion, and playing fields, the details of which will be confirmed by a separate application that's also expected soon.
To view and comment on the district centre plans, visit the developer's website.
Another store gets the all-clear at Shinfield
Meanwhile, the Lidl food store will be built at the district centre in Shinfield village, on land off Hollow Lane and north of Beke Avenue, near the community centre which opened in November last year.
It will have 1,305 sq m of shopping space including an in-store bakery, plus two electric vehicle charging points outside with capacity for more to meet growing demand and space for solar panels on the roof.
There will be 87 parking places, including six disabled and eight parent-and-child bays, with up to 90 minutes’ free parking. According to a report submitted with the application, this will meet demand throughout the week.
The development is also planned to create about 40 full-time and part-time jobs and will include sheltered stands for 14 bicycles, improved pedestrian access to the wider community with two new crossings and improvements to surrounding footpaths.
Getting it right first time
Cllr Ferris added: “The Shinfield food store has also been a long time coming, following discussions with the developers which saw the proposals revised several times.
“It was important to get the scheme right and address our initial concerns on several highways, design and ecological matters. By doing this, we’re proud to have secured a high-quality development that will benefit residents for many years to come.”
As well as providing developer-funded infrastructure to accompany the new homes it is required by the Government to take, the council is lobbying for lower and fairer housing figures in future and recently secured an audience with housing minister Lucy Frazer MP.
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