CONTROVERSIAL proposals for a Lidl store and a care home on the outskirts of Royal Wootton Bassett are to go to an inquiry.

Leda Properties Ltd and Lidl lodged an appeal after Wiltshire Council threw out their plans for the site off Malmesbury Road earlier this year.

Campaigners celebrated when a scheme for a store, 33 sheltered homes and a community hub were rejected, claiming it would have ripped the heart out of the town and put huge pressure on its schools, doctors’ surgeries and roads.

Town councillors and Lydiard Tregoze Parish Council opposed the development and the appeal came as no surprise to chairman of the town council’s planning committee Janet Georgiou.

She said: “It was what we expected. People with that sort of clout can easily afford to bat on with it.”

Apart from the impact on the town one of her main concerns was the potential effect on the Jubilee Lake beauty spot.

The site is the highest point in Wootton Bassett and actsas a rain soak.

Just below it is the lake, which underwent renovation work recently to combat erosion of the banks.

Coun Georgiou also questioned whether an edge of town site was the right place for elderly residents who would have little choice over where to shop if they did not have transport.

“We want to make sure that any development in this town or just outside the town does not detrimentally affect the rest of the town,” she said.

In their statement to the inspector, agents Carter Jonas pointed out that the council’s own planning officers had recommended approval before strategic planning councillors overruled them.

They said a retail impact assessment had judged a new food store was needed in Wootton Bassett but there was nowhere suitable in the centre.

“It is apparent that Royal Wootton Bassett is highly constrained within the town centre, not only due to environmental constraints, but also due to the low vacancy rates acknowledged within the Council’s Retail Study (2011)," said Carter Jonas.

“It is also recognised that any vacancy within the town centre is unlikely to be of a size to accommodate the food store floor space proposed.”

They highlighted the need for homes for older people in the area and said the site was a sustainable site for development without having any adverse impact that would outweigh the benefits.

“The appeal proposals represent sustainable development that will deliver significant economic, social and environmental benefits to this area of Royal Wootton Bassett,” they concluded.

More than 550 objections were raised to the plan and many suggested the store would take business away from shops in the town centre and there was no evidence the town needed more care homes.

No date has yet been set for the appeal, which started officially on October 18, but the public has five weeks to make comments on the plan in writing to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol.