Thursday, 4 August 2011

Schools raise Sainsbury's fears

SCHOOLS in Knowle and Dorridge have raised fears about pupil safety over a Sainsbury's plan for Dorridge.

Click the headline or link below to read the rest of this story.

Arden school and Dorridge Nursery and Infant School said they were concerned that extra vehicles from the Forest Court plan would put youngsters at risk.

Sainsbury's last month submitted a planning application to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council to knock down Forest Court for the store and six other shop units and a restaurant.

Of the 176 parents who responded to a junior and infant school questionnaire, 83 per cent opposed the development with 73 per cent backing a store similar to Tesco in Knowle.

Some 88 per cent thought noise would rise, 82 per cent thought Station Road would be less safe for pedestrians and 31 per cent would be less likely to walk to school (see comments thread for full consultation results).

Of the respondents, 86 per cent backed traffic calming with 51 per cent in favour of speed bumps and 74 per cent in favour of a 20mph speed limit.

The letter, from the governing body, said: “We are concerned that the proposed development will result in fewer people walking or cycling to school because of the real or perceived increased danger resulting from a greater volume of traffic and increased air pollution.”

Parents concerns include insufficient parking, lorries using Station Road and disruption during works.

The letter said: “We are particularly concerned about the impact on the future health and safety of the children.

“The increased traffic flow on Station Road which is a relatively narrow carriageway bordered by two narrow pavements, will inevitably increase the risk of a road traffic accident occurring.”

It said Sainsbury's plans only focus on the immediate area around Forest Court “and appear to ignore the impact of increased traffic flow along the length of Station Road from Knowle to Dorridge”.

The letter says: “We would urge you to give priority to environmental and health and safety considerations and reject the current proposal.”

A letter from Arden chairman of Governors Dr Celia O'Donovan said members are concerned “about the safety of Arden pupils walking along Station Road”.

She said: “The pavements are very narrow and the road is a very busy artery connecting Knowle and Dorridge.

“We are worried that the increased traffic flow that might result from any planned developments in the area would seriously impact on the safety of our children and we would like reassurance that our concerns will be taken seriously before any planning decisions are made.

“We are delighted that most of our children, counter to national trends, take the opportunity to walk to school and would not like to see this healthy activity being negatively affected by parental concerns about safety on Station Road.”

Meanwhile the Dorridge Residents Opposed to Village Superstore campaign group said it has seen a “huge surge in support”.

It said its online “wall of support” has risen from 660 to 900 people in the last four weeks. The online wall shows 756 names.

In a press release, a spokesman said: “It’s heartening to hear from to so many new supporters. Clearly, the more people see of the plans, the more it’s dawning that they’re not right for Dorridge.

“One man rang to thank us for pointing out the car-park is on the roof of the store, which wasn’t clear in the Sainsbury’s drawings.

“And scores of residents who live near the site have been in touch with concerns about parking spilling out on to residential roads.”

What do you think? Leave your comments below. No registration required.

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  1. I would be glad to see traffic calming measures on Station Road if they are deemed useful by the highways department.
    The 'danger to children' may be perceived or real but it is important to reassure the community that either by putting something in place that is needed or explaining why it is not.
    176 parents answered the survey and 31% of these said they would be less likely to walk - that is 24 individuals.
    86% backed traffic calming measures as an answer to the problem. That is 153 individuals.
    I am rather appalled that the school has therfore urged that the current proposal be rejected rather than the specific issues be addressed

  2. Must admit I find the pavements on Station Road quite narrow, especially if having to pass others coming the other direction. Always tend to feel vulnerable if heavy or fast traffic goes past

  3. Pleased to see schools putting children before groceries!

  4. Perhaps concerned parents of the little darlings that attend Arden etc could, in the first instance, instruct their offsping on safe use of roads and footpaths. I dread travelling the road when they are about as they jostle each other at the pavement edge and cross with little regard for their own safety. I fail to see how the claimed extra traffic is likely to alter this behaviour. If the extra traffic results in measures to stop blocking Station Road adjacent to he exit from the Primary and Secondary schools it will enhance road safety at a stroke.

    Old Skool

  5. Certainly should be considered.
    Agree with both of the above.
    Would like to point out that the nos on the school roll at Dorridge Infant and Junior is around 722. Therefore the 24 who are less likely to walk to school are a very small percentate. That is not to say that any concerns should not be addressed.
    There will of course be an incereas in traffic whatever is put on the site and we used to have Eveson's lorries in the past.

  6. Often a project like the one suggested for Forest Court throw up problems to be solved and highlight previously existing problems. through this kind of project joined up solutions can be found.
    The parents who park on Station Road at school collection time actually slow down the traffic which is good but often park on the pavement so it is difficult for pushchairs and children to get by which is bad. There is the convention of one way system around Hanbury Road which used to try and ease problems at dropping off and picking up time. I live on station road and would consider traffic passing straight through less of a problem

  7. Safety is of course important but not sure there is a 'real' danger. Don't mind it being considered though. Interesting such a small no of parents concerned - Urging to reject the proposal seems like using a sledge-hammer to crack a nut. Also, I have to agree with a previous contributor if not with his tone. The schools are a major contributor to making station road dangerous for children walking to and from school due to the parking of the parents.

  8. Re. those less likely to walk to school
    24 was the number of children as a percentage (31%) of those that bothered to reply (176) to the questionnaire so in actual fact the number could be (for Dorridge Junior etc., 722 pupils) nearer 100 if the same percentage (i.e., 31%) was used over the total number at school. If that happens that puts a few more cars on the road in the morning etc.

  9. I think the current state of play in Station Road as outlined by the schools needs to be addressed by the council before they can even begin to pass judgement on Sainsbury's application.

    Supposing the store is allowed and traffic escalates how will the situation be addressed.
    Will it mean sacrificing more trees, people's homes, gardens etc . to widen the road, construct wider pavements, drop off zones for parents etc.
    Probably talking more around the Dorridge end which often seems more congested.

    This is a genuine question and would be interesting to read some constructive answers.

  10. I think perhaps they're over reacting a little. If you look to any of the major cities, you will see school and supermarkets in close proximity and far higher volumes of traffic.

    The situation Dorridge is in no way unique. I agree with previous posts, the mothers in their oversized 4x4's and people carriers parking like they've crashed are far more hazardous.

    Additionally, the inability for some of the pupils to walk in a straight line and remain on the pavement won't change.

    Can somebody explain where the extra traffic will come from? Supermarkets are barely used at school opening and closing times and the traffic is still present just the destination different for people wishing to shop at these times?

  11. Compared to the previous application, Sainsbury's have reduced their projected traffic figures by 42% more than they have reduced their sales area. Either they think their slightly smaller store will be unpopular or their figures should be questioned.

    I have kids who walk to Arden and I am aware how the children wonder around and so dangerous the road can be, especially on bin collection day. The solution is a smaller store.

  12. The extra traffic will come from the 28 square miles that Sainsbury's state is their catchment area.

    If you look at comparable stores, Morrisons, Sainsbur'y Solihull, Tesco Monkspath, they are not in a residential area with single carriageway roads serving them.

  13. 11.48 well said

  14. I believe Sainsbury's have said a majority of their customers will come from a 3 mile radius - 28 square miles is not really a very helpful way of putting it.
    Also supermarkets very quiet in the mornings at around 9.00 am. as we all know.

  15. @11:49

    How is the answer a smaller store? Typical idiotic and unqualified statement! You will still attract the same amount of people to a local store irrespective of it's size. Essentially, people will go to that store or Tesco from within B93.

    Ridiculous statement!

  16. What about the mixed purpose trips we are hearing so much about?

    Whichever way you look at it the proposed supermarket is TOO BIG for the site and location.

  17. @13:31

    Again, an unqualified statement. Too big for what? Because you don't like it? Because the fictitious numbers being bandied around suggest it will create gridlock, create danger?

    A smaller site will simply mean we have a development and yet people will get frustrated in the same way they do with Tesco in Knowle and continue to use the larger stores and nobody wins.

    Stop to think for a moment, a larger site will not bring in more people. It will simply mean that the people who do use it will have better facilities. This is a simple concept and I can't understand how people are finding it so hard to grasp.

  18. Gosh you are clever!!!! I don't think.

    So Sainsbury are building a BIG store so that I will have more space to push my trolly around in. And there was silly me think it was so that they would attract more customers.

    Now I understand their thinking perhaps I could ask for some comfortable sofas and free coffee t put my feet up and have a little rest mid-shop.

  19. I tend to think the head at dorridge school had behaved very inappropriately. I am happy that Arden wish to be reassured re children's safety and even that the junior school conducted a survey. But when 176 people are concerned enough to reply and 86% of those think that IF, and it is a massive if, there is a problem then traffic calming measures would be helpful. Then calling to stop the redevopment seems ridiculous.
    Also to say that you can multiply up from the 176 who decided to reply and therefore say that 31% of the whole school roll may no longer walk is just very,very bad science, you obviously can't do that. People who don't reply may not have seen the letter but the majority will not have seen the issue as important enough to respond to.
    This strand is supposed to be about worries about traffic and school children - as pointed out there are many ways of tackling this - would rather it wasn't hijacked by people with an immovable agenda about size

  20. I should have made it clear, the Dorridge letter is from the governors, not the head.

    For the sake of completeness, these are the full consultation results:

    176 Responses were received with the responses as follows:-
    Are you in favour of a Supermarket Store being built on the Forest Court site which is approximately the same size as the Morrisons site in Solihull?
    Yes – 31
    No - 144
    Are you in favour of a smaller store similar in size to the Tesco’s store in Knowle?
    Yes – 128
    No – 46

    Are you against any supermarket store being built on the Forest Court Site?
    Yes – 24
    No - 150
    Do you consider that if Sainsburys build a large supermarket this will increase:
    (a)     Noise levels in the locality
    (b)     Traffic flow along Station Road
    (c)     Pollution
    Yes – 154 No - 22
    Yes – 167 – No 9
    Yes – 158 – No 18
    Do you consider that Station Road is likely to be less safe for pedestrians as a result of the proposed development and in particular for children walking to school?
    Yes – 144
    No - 24
    Will you be more or less likely to walk to school following completion of the development?
    More – 4
    Less – 55
    Unaffected - 117
    If the proposal goes ahead would you like to see traffic calming measures on Station Road
    Yes- 151
    No – 23
    If yes, would you favour:
    (a)    Speed bumps 89
    (b)   20 mph speed limit 130
          Other 3 (pelican crossing/zebra crossing)
    Not all respondents answered every question.  The numbers do not necessarily total 176

  21. I love the idea that people get "frustrated" in Tesco Knowle!

    "Damnit Margaret, they're fresh out of provolone. That's supper ruined"

    Relax. It's only shopping. If you find it that much of a headache, do it online - I promise, you'll never look back.

    On a serious note more than 80% of parents opposed shows you that the "bleating minority" aren't actually the minority. And it's nice to see that our younger residents with families - the future of the village - are the ones supporting something smaller. it lays to rest all this nonsense that anyone opposing the plans must be stuck in the past.


  22. 80% of respondents ie 140 individuals from a school role of 722 - please. Interested in valid arguments but this just isn't one!

  23. Am appalled that the chairman of Dorridge school governors has put his name to a letter urging the re-development not to go ahead based on this survey.
    I can be kind and say he has no grasp of statistics but I am afraid that as said chairman is Paul Hughes who has signed up to the DROVS wall there is no doubting where he stands on the scheme. I feel he has abused his position to promote the DROVs agenda on this matter.
    Am very disappointed that he has compromised his integrity in this way.
    I can only hope that sense prevails in this issue.

  24. Have to echo the above - and many other posts - safety should be considered but this survey is frankly ridiculously weak - if it means anything it is that most parents at the school have no concerns.
    They've managed to find 140 people who want a store the size of Tesco Knowle - not even the DROVs want that.
    Embarrassing all round.

  25. A simple statement of concern as released by Arden is all that was needed. Dorridge School has got this so wrong.

  26. Can I point out to Matthew that people aren't concerned about buying lemongrass etc without having to drive they want a local store that stops them having to drive un-necessarily which reduces time on the roads and reduces pollution. Many people will drive down to Forest Court and park and shop rather than drive through dorridge and onwards to monkspath in one direction or knowle in the other. If you are really interested in the pollution issue you should take this into consideration which I don't believe you have

  27. 20:13

    Firstly, the roll isn't the number of parents. If some households have more than one nipper at the schools, this will reduce the potential number of replies. let's the most you'll get back is around 450-500.

    Then there's the fact that owing to Sainsbury's cynical attmept to put the application in while we were all on holiday, you're going to get a reuced response. (I'm a parent and we got lots bumf coming home in the last couple of weeks of term - I bet many surveys ended up getting forgotten or binned.

    In marketing terms, getting 25-30% of the people you write to to come back to you is a dream. Some local elections struggle to get that kind of turnout.

    Don't discount this result - that's a good, representative sample.

    To paraphrase the Whiskas ad: 8 out 10 parents who expressed a preference said their families preferred a smaller store for Dorridge.


  28. good represenative sample - no it isn't!
    your 8 out of 10 analogy shows how such statitics were manipulated in the cat food advert to suit their product
    You're doing exactly the same
    Guess you don't understand basic statistics

  29. 20:40

    I never said I was interested in pollution. My point was about people wanting everything at their fingertips. "I must have my favourite brand of croissant".

    But, consider this 20:14...currently we all leave Dorrdige down different routes to go to one of the seven supermarkets within 15 minutes.

    Assuming we all swap for Sainsbury's: that would reroute the vast majority of those journeys - and twice as many again from outside Dorrdige (Sainsbury's estimate) - down Station Road and Avenue Road into the carpark.

    I couldn't comment on whether net pollution will be reduced but the effect of all that traffic accumulating in the centre of Dorridge doesn't sound good to me.

    There's a reason stores this size are normally planned for town centres, or near a dual carriageway.

    Come on...either you know this will be too big, or you don't know how big it will really be!


  30. Really mad with Dorridge School. My daughter is for the store and my children go to this school. They should be teaching the kids not writing letters like this that the parents didn't agree to.

  31. Matthew - one of the DROVS main points of opposition as per their website is pollution generated.

  32. 20:54

    My maths must be on a par with Sainsbury's then who say that although they've only reduced the sales area by 26.3% they anticipate a 37.4% reduction in traffic.

    Perhaps they thought we might like to use their planning application as a bit of gentle fiction for the beach.


  33. @20:57

    "They should be teaching the kids not writing letters like this that the parents didn't agree to"

    They are teaching the kids! The survey was from the Governors. And how would they know that the parents didn't agree to it (as you say) BEFORE they'd sent it. Did you object to the similar letter about Academy status?

    Let's hope the teachers are a bit sharper than you.

  34. To 20.26

    Using your argument, does that mean the doctors (who stand to gain from this development) abused their integrity too when they started petitioning?

    I don't see anything wrong in the Governor issuing a questionnaire. No one is forced to fill it in but at least it gives the young families in the district a chance to voice their opinions about how they feel this development will affect them and their children.

  35. Just imagine driving over all those speed bumps to get to Sainsbury's only to find there's nowhere to park!

  36. 22:05 re the doctors abusing their integrity...

    ( ((
    \ =\
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    (____)) _

  37. @Matthew

    I think you're really clutching at straws. Your argument is weak and you have an inability to debate or see past what you desire. I think if you are representative of the DROVS then it shows them in a very bad light. Perhaps you ought to pipe down a little a let somebody less biased and more constructive speak on their behalf.

  38. To 7.57
    No one is accusing anyone of anything, simply
    asking a question to highlight how absurd the
    criticisms were directed towards the school Governor ( in post 4/8 20.26).

  39. The problem is that
    1. the pavements along station road are too narrow for the number of children who use them at peak times, and
    2. increasingly irresponsible/lazy parents who block station road when collecting or dropping off kids.

    Station road needs better traffic calming and wider pavements. This has been a problem for years and it is getting worse due to the second issue above.

    The Development is a catalyst (and for some people a soap box), that's all.

  40. Why oh why can't mothers who drive their small children who attend the local infant/junior schools use the Forest Court car park and WALK their children to school. They could even ask the Cricket Ground and the Church if they could use their facilities for dropping of their children in the morning and to pick them up in the afternoon. It would be fantastic exercise for the parents and the children or are the grown ups too lazy. All it takes is leaving just a little bit earlier. You never know, the children may even enjoy the fresh air before starting school!!!!

  41. 0845 Mr or Mrs "Pipe down"
    Let me make this very clear: I'm certainly not speaking on behalf of the DROVS - but I do support their main objective - to get the size of this store reduced.

    My argument is pretty simple. There is no precedent of a store this size in the centre of a largely residential community, as opposed to a town-centre or out-of-town site.

    I think it's unheard of and therefore Sainsbury's are "having a laugh".

    Yours constructively,


  42. Matthew i totally agree

    i have posted on here before and not got a response....can any of those in support of the store of the size proposed by sainsburys show us a village with a store similiar in size to that proposed for Dorridge?

    If you would it would be more constructive than the insults that they are currently aiming at DROVS who only appear to have the good of the community at their heart and who have come up with an alternative suggestion !