A SUPERMARKET chain has hit out the design of new shops as 'quite frankly poor and unimaginative.'

A spokesman for the Chipping Norton Co-Op store has launched a strong criticism of plans to build a Marks & Spencer foodhall on London Road.

An agent acting for the Co-Op said that the shop is not anti-competition but that the design is 'out of keeping' with nearby buildings and that it would cause delays for drivers on the A44.

Richard Holmes, acting for the Co-Op said: "The Co-Op is not anti-competitive. It does object to retail development on out-of-centre sites but not to retail proposals in town centres.

"We accept that a modern design could enhance the area; this design however, would not.

"The design is quite frankly poor and unimaginative. The proposed extensive use of "timber effect cladding" is out-of-keeping with nearby buildings and the character of Chipping Campden generally.

"It would cause delays on the A44 through failure to provide a right-hand turning lane.

"It would increase traffic in the town centre considerably and has not demonstrated that the impact on air management would be acceptable.

"The proposal would have a significant adverse impact on the town centre, both on its own and when taken together with the recent out-of-centre developments."

A date has not yet been set for the application to come before the planning committee at West Oxfordshire District Council, however it is likely to take place in May or June.

Comments from local people online on the planning application are largely positive however, with resident of opposite Rockhill Farm Court Linda Mottram stating that the site has become an 'eyesore' and that the store would be an 'asset to the town'.

Maggie James added: "The privilege of perhaps having a M&S Foodstore in the town would enhance the town whilst not impacting on the town's already established retail establishments.

"This development would give the residents more choice and with the parking facilities should not impact on the main town centre."

The application has been made by Graeme Cosgrove of Simons Developments Limited and also features three other shops.

Mr Cosgrove was unavailable for comment.