A NEW budget supermarket has finally been given the green light to open on the site of a former DIY store – despite serious concerns about the effects on nearby green spaces.

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 Lidl superstore.

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”.

After concerns from the developers were raised earlier this month about the length of time it was taking to approve the plans, Wycombe District Council gave them the green light on Thursday (April 25).

Along with the superstore, two new "pod" units are also set to be built on the same land - one of which could become a coffee shop. 

ALSO READ: High Wycombe's new Aldi is coming along nicely 

The approval comes against a backdrop of fears from the Environment Agency (EA) about the risk of pollution and the effect on the nearby River Wye.

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

In response to the concerns from the EA, Jonathan Best, from Montagu Evans LLP on behalf of Lidl, 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.

Approving the plans, Wycombe District Council has put strict conditions on the developers – including demands that they deal with the risks associated with contamination of the site. 

They have also been ordered not to use piling methods without permission from the council, new fencing must be installed adjacent to the river and all planting, seeding and turfing has to happen in the next available season. 

The developers must also not damage any of the trees in the area during the works. 

The Bucks Free Press also told last week how residents living nearby were worried about another separate planning application that has been submitted to replace a “delightful natural oasis” along part of the old Bourne End to High Wycombe railway track with a shared footpath and cycle route. 

Wycombe District Council has submitted plans for the new track on the disused railway embankment from London Road to Bassetsbury Lane – amid concerns that it will do “nothing to improve” what is already a “natural oasis in the town”.

Despite concerns about the impact on the environment, the Lidl plans – which will also include “pod” buildings that could be used by coffee shops and other retailers – have been well-received by residents and shoppers. 

Gerald Pierce, who lives in nearby Pinions Road, said the addition of a coffee shop on the site would be welcome, adding: “You would be helping the environment as I would hardly need to take the car out.” 

The new Lidl supermarket is set to be the fifth discount superstore in the town to be proposed or built in the town.

ALSO READ: Could Aldi be opening YET ANOTHER store in Wycombe?

There is already an Aldi superstore in Desborough and another planned for Tannery Road in High Wycombe.

There is also a Lidl in Desborough and another rumoured for the Cressex Island site up by Next.