A DECISION over whether a Morrisons supermarket should be given the go-ahead in Christchurch is due next week.

An appeal hearing over the food store, for the Beagle Technology site in Stony Lane, took place last month after the scheme was rejected for the third time by Christchurch Borough Council.

Planning inspector Alwyn Nixon held the two-day hearing at the Civic Offices in Bridge Street in February, hearing arguments from both the council and applicant Simons Developments.

Members of the planning committee dismissed the plans for the third time in January last year.

The first decision to refuse the plans in 2012 was thrown out by the council after threats of legal action.

Concerns about the ‘lack of evidence’ in a retail report commissioned by the council and put together by Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners led to the third refusal, along with concerns about the impact on the town centre and traffic problems.

The appeal hearing heard Cllr Claire Bath, vice-chairman of the planning committee, also raise concerns about the new building 'dominating' views across to the historic Priory church.

The revised plans for the supermarket were originally recommended for approval by council planning officers, a recommendation overturned by members.

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, Simons, at the hearing, heritage consultant Duncan Coe, said the existing Beagle buildings were "inappropriate and unsightly".

A spokesperson for the planning inspectorate said they expected a decision to be issued by Tuesday March 24.

If approved, the multi-million scheme would enable Beagle Technology to move to a new site, potentially at Bournemouth Airport.

Prior to the appeal, Beagle's managing director John Taylor, who was present at the hearing, said: "We are hopeful that the inspector will realise the suitability of this site for a large format food store.

"A successful appeal will help revitalise Christchurch by drawing trade into the town and will help secure Beagle jobs in the borough for the future."

The food store would create 300 supermarket jobs.

The awaited appeal decision comes as a revised application for a reduced size Asda food store at Bailey Drive in Christchurch is expected.

Turbulence in the supermarket sector forced developers of the site, Quantum, to go back to the drawing board in January, after Asda announced they were 'rethinking' their future store size.