ASDA’S latest plan for a supermarket in Cinderford won unanimous support from Forest of Dean District Council in a debate which lasted just seven minutes.
Despite recent legal challenges from rival The Co-operative, the retail giant is determined to build in the town and won outline planning permission this afternoon.
The company aims to demolish existing buildings at Steam Mills to make way for a 4,645sqm store and recycling centre – which is “what the town wants", councillors say.
Councillor Lynn Sterry said at a meeting of the planning committee today: “I am not going to say here we go again, but I hope this is the last time.
“We need the store to enhance the regeneration of Cinderford now and in the future. We are not going to do that without the competition of a new store to give people the chance to have a choice.
“We need to this give supermarket the go ahead.”
The council approved a plan for an Asda store earlier this year but The Co-op activated the right to appeal to the High Court and said it believed the scheme was unsound and went against regulations.
That was the second time The Co-op challenged Asda after a first and successful challenge in 2012 cost the council more than £200,000 in legal costs.
Council members claim the company, which has a store at Dockham Road, is concerned about competition from Asda.
Councillor Graham Morgan said: “I don’t know how many times we have to sit here and judge the development but I am prepared to sit here as many times as necessary.
“You only have to look at the letters of support against the letters of objection to see this town wants it. It is about time we got the job sorted. We need it; the town needs it, so let’s go for it.”
Planning officer Tony Pope said all matters associated with the store, apart from access, will be reserved for further consideration.
Midcounties Co-operative Society Ltd has written a letter of objection to the council stating: “There is a big claim that the proposal will provide substantial and economic regeneration benefits, but there is no evidence to suggest that the scheme would attract other investment in the town.
“The benefits listed are abstract, incapable of clear definition and would have no tangible benefit to local residents.”
Amanda Watkins, spokesman for the We Want Asda in Cinderford campaign, said after the meeting that it is “brilliant” the council made the “right decision”.
She said: “As far as I am concerned, the store is not for now it is for the future.”