Naturalist Chris Packham joins supermarket objectors.

Almost 750 people have penned objection letters regarding Lidl’s planning application to build a new store on land adjacent to Bath Rugby’s Lambridge training ground on the London Road.

Today marks the end of the consultation period regarding the supermarket’s plans and amongst those objecting are the Environmental Agency, the Federation of Bath Residents Associations (FoBRA), Natural England, Bath MP Wera Hobhouse and the TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham. 

Opposition letters have cited the number of mature trees that would be removed, the threat to existing wildlife, increased traffic on the already congested and polluted London Road, and damage to the thriving independent shopping district in Larkhall. 

Robert Stephens of Avon Wildlife Trust, who recently led a Beaver Walk for over 100 residents at Bathampton Meadows directly across the river says, “Eurasian beavers, a protected species once extinct in the UK, now feed and live directly adjacent to and in the entire stretch of the River Avon in Larkhall and Batheaston. It is an offence to deliberately disturb a beaver – this includes any action likely to impair their ability to survive, breed or rear their young.” 

Bath MP Wera Hobhouse

Bath MP Wera Hobhouse raised concerns that the development at the ‘sensitive’ gateway into the city could threaten Bath’s world heritage status, saying “the development would significantly disrupt the current tranquil setting.” 

FOBRA, which represents 34 resident associations in Bath, has concern for Bath’s UNESCO status, stating “The green field site which is subject to this application sits within the conservation area at this most iconic of gateways. We therefore question the selection of a green field site whose very existence helps to make Bath a unique city in the UK and indeed in the world.” 

“A retail development at this site will damage a fragile ecological site, threatening wildlife, worsen already congested traffic conditions, and jeopardize the viability of our local shopping centre,” said Theresa Waterhouse of Transition Larkhall, a local community group with over 200 supporters. 

Ward councillor Joanna Wright says, ‘Lidl plans for site runoff to flow directly into the Avon and no contamination survey has been completed. There is real concern here for the river impact resulting from this development, at a site teeming with wildlife and directly across from the National Trust’s Bathampton Meadows and in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.’ 

Naturalist and TV presenter, Chris Packham, stated in his objection that he was “concerned about the impacts on long term development of such a beautiful area with regards to wildlife, traffic congestion, destruction of habitats.”

Packham, who presents the BBC nature series Springwatch and the new BBC series, Earth, also campaigns to raise awareness of the loss of wildlife in the UK.