Monday, 4 July 2011

Transport changes to Sainsbury's plan

SAINSBURY’S has made changes to proposed road layouts and deliveries for its Dorridge store plan.

The plans were announced as a campaign group published an open letter to the firm’s boss Justin King to scrap the plan for Forest Court.

Dorridge_view_1_-_from_car_park_of_Arden_Buildings - Copy

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Under the changes, trees will be planted on Station Road when a dual carriageway is removed, opposite Poplar Road.

The Poplar Road exit will be changed so two cars can queue to turn left and two cars can queue to turn right.

This followed concerns that cars will not to be able to wait in the middle of Station Road when the dual carriageway is removed.

And a proposed seven large lorry and five small lorry deliveries a day would come via the Warwick Road and not the M42 and Knowle High Street.

This reflects changes to a Waitrose plan for Knowle, which proposed the M42 route before changing to the Warwick Road.

A planning application is expected shortly for Sainsbury’s and is expected to go for Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee in September.

It threw out a 2,462sqm sales area plan in March last year. The new scheme is 1,812sqm.

The changes were announced by the Dorridge and District Residents Association following meetings with Sainsbury’s.

It said of the Station Road changes: “The concept of a dual carriageway remains, but the road is re-aligned.

“We see that there are significant benefits in that realignment which should significantly improve the visibility exiting Station Approach.”

It said the realignment of the Poplar Road junction would “significantly improve traffic flow” during school hours.

It said Sainsbury’s will “create a better pedestrian area”, create space for Chiltern Railways to remodel the station with a canopy and improve the safety of the junction with Station Approach and Avenue Road.

The proposed store front will “remove the dominant sky sign” and add a clock, which the DDRA said are “small touches which made a difference”.

It said: “Sainsbury's emphasised that there was no hidden expansion plan and that there was nothing in the architecture to facilitate that.”

"Well received"

Association chairman Ian Spencer said, "The revisions to the scheme were well received by the [DDRA] committee who felt that Sainsbury's had made genuine efforts to overcome valid concerns raised at the public consultation.

“We had made it clear to Sainsbury's that they could not ignore these concerns and they have accepted that and sought to resolve those issues.

“However, the uncertainty as to whether Dorridge can sustain the increase in traffic remains and we have not yet had sight of the traffic case being put forward."

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “Sainsbury’s has confirmed that an application will be submitted in the not to distant future, final amends are currently being made as a result of the recent meetings that have been held with the local community groups and the council.

“Sainsbury’s will be providing full details to the local community once the application is with the council. Once again Sainsbury’s would like to thank all groups for their time and constructive suggestions with regards to the proposed development.”

Campaign letter

It comes as the Dorridge Residents Opposed to Village Superstore group (DROVS) publish an open letter to Sainsbury’s chief executive.

It said “it's become increasingly clear that Sainsbury's are adamant that they cannot and will not reduce the size of the store to something you'd typically find in a community like Dorridge”.

The letter says Sainsbury’s have said the proposed store is the minimum size needed to accommodate weekly shops.

But DROVS says the firm’s own research shows some residents do their weekly shop at Tesco in Knowle, a third of the size of the proposed Sainsbury’s.

It says: “We believe that if you reduced the store’s size to something nearer other local foodstores it would still be highly profitable.

“This is a prime site, and the store would attract a loyal and enthusiastic customer base, especially if it becomes part of a more agreeable design plan.

“We therefore ask you to reconsider your position.”

It adds: “Strong support has emerged for our view that the proposal is too big and will swamp the village not only in its physical presence but also in its traffic and environmental impact.

“If you signal that you are prepared to consider a smaller scheme, we will work with you to find a prompt solution, using the feedback which has been built up over the last six months. This can then be put to the planning committee.

“Sainsbury’s is a fine company, and we would welcome your presence in Dorridge. You have a good reputation. Please do not spoil it by forcing an overlarge store on the village against the wishes of so many of its residents.”

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