A Wiltshire MP has asked the Secretary of State to call in a controversial edge-of-town supermarket application after councillors approved the plans for last week.

Wiltshire Council’s planning committee voted 11-0 in favour of a 27,000sq ft Waitrose supermarket on the edge of Malmesbury town centre. But North Wiltshire MP James Gray has now asked communities secretary Eric Pickles to call in the decision “for a period of quiet reflection as to what is best for the town”.

He said the decision undermined the neighbourhood planning process. “If you railroad through planning applications which have the potential to change the very nature of the town, then you might as well not have bothered with the neighbourhood planning process,” he said.

“The whole question of supermarkets is central to the neighbourhood plan; so how can its supporters now be emasculating their own plan by supporting this potentially very damaging planning application?”

He said it was his “long-held and clearly expressed view that we should do all in our power” to keep supermarket shopping in the high street, and bemoaned the “spurious” opinion polls being cited to prove how most people in Malmesbury wanted the Waitrose site.