A THIRD potential supermarket for Christchurch has been recommended for approval – after being turned down twice before.

The Morrisons plan for the Beagle Technology site in Stony Lane, Christchurch has been recommended for approval, and will go before Christchurch Council’s planning committee on Thursday January 23.

Last year two other outline supermarket proposals were approved; Asda at Bailey Drive, off Barrack Road, and another unnamed food store at Meteor Retail Park in Somerford.

Following concerns from residents and councillors, Simons Developments for Morrisons say the height of the store has been reduced and relocated on the site.

The full planning application for the store – which will be built on stilts - includes a 355 space car park, two other shop units and £1million of highway works on Stony Lane itself and the roundabout.

The application has so far received 862 letters of support with 254 objections.

Concerns have been expressed by Forum Heritage on the design of the building but they say if changes suggested by English Heritage are implemented, these worries would be addressed.

Christchurch Chamber of Trade has also lodged concerns including trade diversion from the High Street, loss of land for industrial use, and traffic congestion.

The prospect of the food store has split opinion in the Chamber, with the group generally supportive of Beagle but with some members worried about the health of the town centre.

A council-commissioned study said it is unlikely that three new food stores would ultimately be implemented in Christchurch.

It also said linked trips – people using the supermarket and the town centre - could generate between £2million and £8.3million – and offset the potential loss of trade to the town centre.

Chris Newsome, development director at Simons said they were “delighted” by the recommendation and were looking forward to Thursday’s meeting.

Plan 'safeguards jobs'

Beagle Technology Group says their existing premises at Stony Lane are now outdated and unsuitable for the specialist nature of their business.

By relocating to modern premises at Bournemouth Airport, the planning report says this will safeguard 80 existing jobs, and potentially create another 90.

The new food store will create around 300 jobs.

A planning obligation has been signed saying Beagle will relocate within Christchurch with a recruitment and training agreement to ensure new jobs are targeted at local people through Job Centre Plus.

Residents have a say on the scheme

- Ann Spencer, 63, an office worker from Christchurch said: “I don’t mind if they have a Morrisons there, I think it would be quite good, because they’ve only got Waitrose here, and Marks and Spencer.”

- Katrina West, 55, a bookkeeper from Sopley, said: “I don’t see why not, every other supermarket is here. I would use it if it was a decent size one.”

- Gemma Shutler, 35, from Christchurch, said: “For us, it would be quite nice, but I do quite like coming to the high street and supporting the high street.”

- Leslie Killick, 93, from Highcliffe, said: “I think it would be a good idea, but it would probably impact on the high street.“I go to Sainsbury’s, so I wouldn’t change from there.”