Checked out: New Thame Sainsbury’s is blocked

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A new Sainsbury’s will not be built in Thame after councillors blocked the plans.

A majority of members on South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee voted to refuse the controversial application on Wednesday night.

Sainsbury’s, which wanted permission to build the supermarket on the Cattle Market site, said it was disappointed with the decision.

In a statement, Sainsbury’s said: “We would like thank the Thame Cattle Market and Thame Show, representatives of the agricultural community and the many local people in Thame that we know are supportive of our proposals.”

The long-awaited decision was not unexpected. The officer dealing with the application last week said councillors should refuse planning permission. Councillors rarely vote against the officer’s recommendation and the report’s conclusions carry great weight.

In his report, planning officer Michael Moore said the site needs to have a mixed use and the building of Sainsbury’s would restrict the use of the area. He also described the proposed community centre as ‘inadequate’.

Mr Moore’s report said: “Having regard to the scale, bulk and massing of the building relative to its surroundings, and to the inappropriate details of design, the development would be out of keeping with the surroundings and would detract from the character, appearance and setting of the locality and the adjoining Thame Conservation Area, and the visual amenity of the area.”

His other reasons for recommending refusal were that the development would involve the loss of a sport and social club and be too close to homes.