TADLEY councillors have slammed West Berkshire council for rejecting the application of a Lidl superstore in the area.

Councillors voted against the scheme by a majority of nine to two, citing concerns over the application's green field site.

The planning application was thrown out on the grounds of it going against the council's planning framework and that the discount supermarket was not 'exceptional' enough to deviate from planning policy. 

The decision came as a bitter blow for Tadley councillors and residents, with the majority in favour of the superstore.

Leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Ken Rhatigan (Kingsclere), told the Gazette: "Tadley residents have had their choice stripped from them. 

"The decision to reject the superstore is a complete disaster.

"Tadley has been misserved as a community and abandoned.

"West Berkshire council has left the people with limited choice.

"They have allowed the monopoly of Sainsbury's to continue.

"It was argued that the new building will be an intrusion to the countryside and affect West Berkshire residents, but this is not the case.

"West Berkshire council have made a terrible decision because their residents will not be affected by the decision they made."

If Lidl appeal the decision, cllr Rhatigan said the supermarket will have his full support.

Speaking about the public having to remain silent at the West Berkshire council meeting, he said: "Basingstoke's sense of democracy is much stronger than our neighbouring council because we allow different views to be put to the committee. 

"We allow public speaking at Basingstoke and Deane Borough council but West Berkshire do not do that."

The proposed location of the superstore would sit between Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and Tadley town.

But cllr Rhatigan thinks it is "ridiculous" that the superstore would have any impact on a huge industrial site like AWE.

"I am hopping mad about the council rejecting the application.

"It's wrong they have made a decision without considering who that affects as their poor decision affects Basingstoke and Deane and Tadley residents.

"West Berkshire council has made a decision about my residents knowing that they cannot be held to democratic account on the ballot paper.

"Tadley councillors will be launching petitions and fight for the application to go through," he said. 

Cllr David Leeks, (Conservative, Tadley South), was disappointed that the superstore was refused.

He told the Gazette: "I don't know many people that didn't want Lidl to come to Tadley.

"The decision to reject the application was a shock as it was approved last year at local level.

"It's very unfair that the application has been rejected and the future of Tadley shopping is looking very bleak.

"A lot of residents think they need a supermarket other than Sainsbury's.

"I don't know where it went wrong and hope that Lidl will appeal the decision.

"Villages around Tadley will be affected as well and the local people have truly been let down."

Cllr Leeks said that Tadley residents normally shop at either Basingstoke, Reading or Newbury.

He does not want to lose facilities like the banks which have gone down from three to two in the area.

Cllr Kerri Carruthers, (Conservative, Tadley South), was in favour of the Lidl superstore coming to Tadley. 

She raised her concerns since the application was rejected by West Berkshire councillors.

"It's a real shame that Lidl was not approved.

"I know people in Tadley who cannot afford to shop in Sainsbury's and those that don't have a car.

"People are choosing to leave Tadley to do food shopping because there is a limited choice in the area.

"The vast majority of us are disappointed as it would have created jobs in Tadley," she continued.

Cllr Carruthers shops at Aldi in Winklebury, but is being forced to leave Tadley to shop as she has to feed a family of four.

"I don't do my weekly shop in Sainsbury's as I cannot afford to do that with a large family.

"I get food delivered from Asda online or shop in Lidl/Aldi in Basingstoke as my family are shielding," she added. 

The Gazette has contacted West Berkshire council for comment.