Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 15:57 UK

Cricket pitch Waitrose approved

Waitrose plans
Waitrose says 40% of the site would remain as green open space

A supermarket has won permission to build a store on a historic cricket pitch in a Dorset market town.

Waitrose has wanted to build a store in Wimborne Minster for four years. It plans to turn part of the green into a riverside public park.

East Dorset District Council planning officers had recommended that the application be refused. The opinion of residents was split.

Councillors on a planning committee voted eight to two for the development.

Waitrose's proposal includes a 19,741 sq ft (1,834 sq m) supermarket, plus a smaller warehouse with offices and a staff restaurant on the cricket ground at Rowlands Hill.

'Negative impact'

A new two-level car park with 215 spaces was also in the plans. The remaining part of the site - about 40% - would form the new park.

The plans also include providing the cricket club with a new ground, up to county standards, outside the town centre.

Wimborne Cricket Club
Wimborne Cricket Club is set to move to a new pitch outside town

Earlier, Mike Hirsh, the council's head of planning and building control, said there was "merit in principle" in a new food store in Wimborne.

But, he said, it would have a negative impact on its surroundings and harm the character and appearance of the conservation area. His planning department therefore recommended councillors refuse the scheme.

"The merits of the package of proposals, including the new cricket pitch on the Leaze, make the decision a difficult one," he said.

"The difficulty for the committee is highlighted by the individual letters received from the public, which tend to show opinion is evenly split.

"There are 450 individual letters in support and 453 against.

"Under these circumstances I can readily understand if the committee put a different balance on some of the key issues and come to the conclusion that planning permission should be granted."

Protest over cricket pitch shop
30 Nov 07 |  Dorset

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