Berkshire

Planned Aldermaston Lidl 'needs nuclear weapon lockdown plan'

Proposed Lidl store in Aldermaston Image copyright Lidl
Image caption The proposed new Lidl store would be built on land south of AWE's site

A planned supermarket close to the UK's nuclear weapons site will need an emergency 24-hour lockdown plan in case of a "major incident".

Grocery store chain Lidl wants to open a new outlet near the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Aldermaston.

But West Berkshire council planner Michael Butler has recommended councillors should refuse permission.

He questioned the ability of store staff to "respond adequately" in the event of an incident at AWE.

In a report to the council's planning committee, he said: "The application should be rejected.

"This is on the basis that the site location is within the inner protection zone of the AWE, it is greenfield so will bring additional population into the zone.

"It will require evacuation in the event of an incident, and the ability of store staff to respond adequately is questioned."

The council received 911 letters from members of the public about the proposed store - 849 in support and 55 against, according to Mr Butler's report.

Those in favour reportedly think it will provide good competition for the existing Sainsbury's, bringing prices down.

People against the proposal voiced concerns over noise, air pollution and increased traffic in the area.

A West Berkshire Council planning spokesman said: "Our recommendation is to refuse planning permission due to various reasons, however the final decision will rest with the councillors."

The council's planning committee is due to make a decision on the application later.

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