A DECISION on plans to open a Lidl superstore in High Wycombe should be approved “as quickly as possible”, planners have urged – addressing concerns from the Environment Agency about the proposals.

The Bucks Free Press revealed in September last year that the Homebase site along the London Road was set to shut – and plans were afoot to turn it into a budget supermarket.

Since then, Homebase has shut down and the site has been closed off with large blocks of concrete in a bid to stop travellers from pitching up in the car park after a number of “unauthorised encampments”.

READ AGAIN: Travellers set up camp in Homebase car park

But the plans for a Lidl store have still not been decided on by Wycombe District Council after concerns were raised from the Environment Agency (EA) about the risk of pollution and the effect on the nearby River Wye.

Bucks Free Press:

A former landfill site, the EA said it was concerned that building work could disrupt contamination underground and cause pollution, adding that the developer should also restore “ecological value” to the nearby river.

Addressing the concerns, Jonathan Best, from Montagu Evans LLP on behalf of the developers, said an ecological management plan has been drawn up detailing a 10-year schedule of works to maintain the area - including removing litter, installing bird boxes and log piles and trimming trees and shrubs.

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Mr Best said: “We consider that the proposed landscaping scheme and content of the report fully address the requirements of the EA.

“I consider that in addition to the economic and social benefits of the development, there will be an environmental enhancement.

“We are anxious to ensure that the planning application is determined as soon as possible. The site is subject to regular unauthorised occupation which is causing problems to the site owners, local residents and, potentially, the local wildlife. The latter is somewhat ironic, as it is this issue that is delaying the determination of the application.”