BARGAIN hunters in Highworth have welcomed the decision to allow an Aldi to be built.

The bid was controversial as many residents supported the scheme but Swindon Borough Council’s officers were against it.

A petition signed by 972 Highworth residents was brought to the planning meeting with councillors and Aldi’s agent of planning putting its case.

More than 25 residents turned up in support of the scheme. And it won approval.

Highworth mayor Julia Bishop said: “We are really chuffed about the result. The town is over the moon.

“The residents and councillors have worked very hard and they have come together as one.

“Another generation will now have the chance to buy quality food for a cheaper price without having to travel out of the town.”

She added: “I truly could not see why there was any objections in the first place.

“It was peculiar for them to use the Neighbourhood Plan as their key point as an example when the plan had been overruled not that long ago.”

It has taken around six months for this decision to be made after Swindon planning officer’s suggested that the plans did not comply with Highworth’s Neighbourhood Plan or Swindon’s Local Plan.

The councillors voted to allow the project as long as a range of conditions were added, including an environmental management plan, light guidance, noise statements and the inclusion of a cycle path.

Rob Jones, agent for the regional area from Aldi, was happy to accept these conditions.

It is expected that the new supermarket will create around 45 jobs for local people, with visitors to the town expected to increase.

Highworth Parish Council found that around 55 per cent of residents were having to go to other towns to do their shopping.

The Aldi will be built on land north of the Blackworth Industrial Estate, with extra buildings built alongside it to be used by other businesses.

The impact for the shops on the high street is only expected to be between 16.9 and 17.3 per cent as Aldi agreed to not selling certain products so other shops in the area can benefit.

The store will not be selling lottery tickets, tobacco and newspaper sales will be restricted.

There was much debate on the night between councillors with one arguing that if the store was approved it would go against the Neighbourhood Plan.

Cllr Jane Milner-Barry, spokesperson for town centre regeneration, heritage and culture, said: “We can’t expect developers to stick to the plan if residents don’t abide to them.

“We will get development all the way from Swindon to Highworth.”