East Cambridgeshire District Council planning committee has approved an application for a controversial out-of-town supermarket development in Soham.

The 41,000sq ft development was approved, 418 days after the application was first submitted, on the basis it complied with the Soham Masterplan and that the developers, Harrier, revealed which supermarket chain will run the store.

A public consultation on the plans received 665 comments in support of the development and 51 letters in opposition.

The planning committee’s decision to approve the application went against a district council officer’s recommendation that it would be “harmful to the vitality and viability of the town”.

Local retailer Jonathan James had warned that, if approved, the supermarket would kill off the high street in Soham. He had also offered to sell his Budgens store to one of the multiples on the condition that the council rejected the out-of-town application in an effort to keep footfall on the high street.