Sunday, 30 October 2011

DROVS hits back over "misleading" claims

SAINSBURY’S campaigners have hit out at the firm for accusing it of using “completely inaccurate and misleading” figures.

Dorridge_view_1_-_from_car_park_of_Arden_Buildings - Copy

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

The Dorridge Residents Opposed to Village Superstore (DROVS) group said Sainsbury’s own figures back up DROVS claims the plan is 48 bigger than one rejected by planners in 2010.

A press release from Sainsbury’s said it would “set the record straight” over the “blunder” and said the 48 per cent claim is “completely inaccurate and misleading”.

Yet Sainsbury’s did not explain why these figures are wrong and instead only pointed to a 26 per cent reduction in the floor space of the store.

The plan for Forest Court proposes six more retail units and an extended doctors’ surgery and DROVS says this is the figure which must be taken into consideration.

Sainsbury’s official planning application gives a total internal floor space of the new development as 8,310sqm (see section 18 of PDF here).

Taking off the 303sqm doctors’ extension, this is a 48 per cent increase on the 2009 application of 5,396sqm, DROVS said. That scheme was rejected by councillors as too large.

It said: “DROVS believe it is possible to provide a new heart to the village that addresses the concerns raised by many local residents and, despite their latest press release, we look forward to discussing this with Sainsbury's.”

It said: “Most people don’t know that according to the official planning documents, compared with their 2009 plans, Sainsbury’s have actually increased the retail space.”

It added: “This will have a huge knock on effect on traffic and parking.”

Sainsbury’s said the building is lower as its car park is proposed above and not below the store, but the building below “needs to be as big as possible to support it”

Its regional development, Michael Adenmosun, said: “We have clarified this information directly to DROVS in the past therefore it’s very concerning to read this misinformation that they are circulating.”

DROVS has backed a 1,000sqm sales area store, almost half the size of the one now proposed. Sainsbury’s says the proposed store is the smallest it can be to make a profit.

Click here for previous Sainsbury's stories.

In a letter to Sainsbury’s, DROVS questions why the store sales area does not include checkouts, lobbies, concessions, restaurants, customer toilets and walkways behind the checkouts.

The letter questions where staff will park and how the “massive” increase in the store will lead to the 37 per cent cut in traffic compared to the last plan.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee is expected to be asked to make a decision on the scheme on Wednesday next week (November 9).

Note December 2011: Sainsbury's later released further information about figures. Click here to read.

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  1. Oh dear. It seems that Sainsbury's owes DROVS an apology - they have got their figures wrong after all!

  2. The DROVS wanted more independent retail units -now they are trying to use the fact that there are more and they are larger against Sainsbury's.
    Suddenly it is the size of 'the whole development' which is significant - not the sales floor area
    They wanted the store less prominent and so it is now more hidden and as a result the parkparking is on top which needs the structural support underneath.
    DROVS need to make a coherent arguement this 48% figure is just nonsense
    massaging figures is very foolish route for the DROVS to go down

  3. We're not massaging any figures - we're just seeking clarification over errors and ambiguities that have come to light in Sainsbury's planning application. The planners will be giving it the same scrutiny too, no doubt.

    DROVS has never asked for more or fewer independent retail units. We have (as you will see in our letter to Sainsbury's) questioned just how "independent" the retail units are, whether Sainsbury's will be able to expand into them and what they will be used for (the planning application mentions 1239 sqm set aside for "drinking establishments").

    We think it is fair to bring these questions out into the open - especially at this critical stage. And, as we've said elsewhere, we hope that Sainsbury's will have the professionalism and respect to enter into a constructive dialogue, rather than rubbishing our claims via the local press.

  4. For the sake of completeness, here is the original Sainsbury's press release


    Press Release

    25 October 2011


    Sainsbury’s has expressed grave concerns regarding DROVS’ claim that the size of its proposed development at Forest Court in Dorridge is 48% bigger than the retailer’s previous scheme in 2009. Sainsbury’s asserts that this is completely inaccurate and misleading.

    The sales area of the proposed Sainsbury’s store is 1,812sqm. In the previous scheme it was 2,460sqm, which means a 26% reduction in net floorspace. Indeed the existing retail floorspace at Forest court is 2,485 sqm.

    The company has also earmarked 1,239 sq m for the smaller independent units as part of the redevelopment proposals – more than the allocation in the 2009 scheme.

    The car park is now above the store. This arrangement has meant the building is now considerably lower than the previous scheme which addresses the issue of scale. By putting the parking on the roof, the building structure underneath needs to be as big as possible to support it – otherwise there would be less parking for the development. Space on the roof has been made bigger by enclosing the service yard, which has acoustic benefits over the previous scheme, and by making the storage area slightly bigger than normal.

    Michael Adenmosun, Sainsbury’s Regional Development Executive says, “We have clarified this information directly to DROVS in the past therefore it’s very concerning to read this misinformation that they are circulating.

    “We’ve always stated that we’ve reduced the size of the proposed foodstore by 26% and this hasn’t changed.

    “If anyone has questions about the size of the proposed development, we’d urge them to contact us and we’d be happy to answer their queries.”

    To obtain information regarding plans for the redevelopment of Forest Court, please call Richard Harris on Sainsbury’s freephone number 0800 975 5299.

  5. Smaller store supporter30 October 2011 at 15:59

    "it's very concerning to read this misinformation" says Mr Adenmosum. Isn't it more concerning that, even when tipped off, Sainsbury's wouldn't admit their blunder?

    I also note that the reason the store needs to be quite so big is nothing to do with making a tidy profit. It's so that it can support the car park! Of course!

    Here's an idea - a smaller store, that attracts less traffic and a smaller car park to match.

  6. So now DROVS want a smaller Sainsbury's store and less area devoted to independent shops.
    This is a new caveat. Before they wanted more independent retail space. Shape -shifting like this just doesn't warrant engagement.

  7. The press release from Sainsbury's answers the DROVS questions clearly and concisely and to any reasonable person with concerns about the size of the development it is all good news.
    So can the DROVS show some common sense and embrace the fact that the development is a good one - many of their concerns having been dealt with or imaginary - and find something else to do.

  8. Smaller store supporter30 October 2011 at 18:54

    @18:07. You're easily convinced!

    Can you point us towards the part of the press release where Sainsbury's acknowledge that they have got their figures seriously wrong?

    Also, where have Sainsbury's addressed DROVS' other questions (have you read those 18:07?)


    How come the overall development is at least as big as 2009 (depending on which figures are shown to be accurate) BUT

    a) there is a decrease in parking
    b) Sainsbury's predict a 37% decrease in traffic compared with 2009

    Whether you're a supporter or opponent of a store this size, you have to admit it's worrying that Sainsbury's figures don't stack up.

    Surely the planners will throw this back at them!

  9. A very bored housewife.31 October 2011 at 08:50

    Ok - here's what actually matters;
    1. How does the EXTERNAL size compare the what is there now?
    2. Will rents be affordable for small outlets?
    3. How will traffic and parking be managed?

    The rest is turning into little more than a cat fight which, quite frankly is getting rather embarrassing for all parties involved, if you could but see it.

  10. So Sainsbury's owe DROVS an apology. Why has the council's planning department not noticed this mistake?

    Most support the inclusion of the 6 independent units, but the Knowle Society said “the proposed development will actually reduce the shopping opportunities in Dorridge".

    Using Sainsbury's figures, these little units add up to something about the size of the proposed Waitrose in Knowle!

  11. 48% larger!!! Whatever this figure relates to it isn't the size of the proposed store - obviously.
    Its just a red herring and really a laughable ploy by the DROVS who leak support on a daily basis because of these mis-leading claims.
    Who in their right mind would beleieve Sainsbury's are looking for a store 48% bigger than the one rejected - and before they say its a figure for the whole scheme (still doesn't stack up) - let me point out that its the STORE that is relevant. ITS what you said you were campaigning about DROVS - ie no of people and cars that would visit the store - therefore the RETAIL space in the store is the crux of the matter - Are you really this deluded or is it a purely cynical ploy to mislead people.
    Please build the store so I don't have to read anymore nonsense circulated by the DROVS!

  12. DROVS - Don't you want a covered delivery yard and 6 independent shop units???
    If not why not??
    Sainsbury's even say there will be a bit more storage than they want or need to support the car park.
    Be fair - acknowledge that Sainsbury's have explained things to you.
    48% thing just plain daft

  13. I am disappointed that the DROVS group have taken this route.
    I was against the first proposal.
    I was unsure about the second but open to persuasion.
    I feel DROVS have lost touch with people like me who want what's best for Dorridge.
    I would have liked them to continue to talk to Sainsbury's about how to achieve the parking required etc. and make the scheme work.
    They are now only negative and entrenched.
    I look forward to scheme going through and the end to the unpleasantness which I have to blame the DROVS for un-necessarily 'stoking up'
    What a shame they have not worked for the community as a whole as seemed to be their original intent but become the force to divide it.

  14. Three DROV-bashing comments, one after the other, each written in the same style. Very curious. Or perhaps I am "cynical" or "deluded"


  15. I agree with the 3 comments above and am also bored with the whole thing, so make that 4 comments. I was a Drovs supported but they are sounding increasingly loony.

  16. The DROVS did a good job initially and the new scheme is much better.
    Feel sorry their good work will be forgotten but I have to agree with above and bored housewife.
    Will be glad when its all done and dusted.

  17. What is with all this hate direct at DROVS?

    Not everyone that wants to see a village sized store is a member or supporter of DROVS.

    It seems to me that all the nasty comments are in one direction.

    You may not agree with DROVS but there is no need to be rude and make personal remarks.

    For the record I believe that the current proposal is far too big for the location.

    The fact that we all like to do our shopping in a large supermarket doesn't mean that Sainsbury's plans are suitable.

    If you disagree with me I understand that and do not feel the need to call you names.

    I hope the planning committee see sense and send Sainsbury away to come up with a resonable plan for the run-down site they own .

  18. We could all argue about the "net" and " gross" size of Sainsbury forever. What matters is that the development as a whole is not significantly smaller that the original proposal turned down by SMBC.

    Yet the traffic predictions are for 37% few cars visiting the site. Are we to believe that shoppers and staff of the independant units are all going to walk or use public transport.

    I for one was not born yesterday.

  19. How quickly you forget. If it wasn't for DROVS we would be looking at a massive ugly glass and steel structure with a bit of wood cladding and a triangular doctors surgery. Dorridge ows a lot to the work of DROVS, people who care about where they live and want to see Forest Court redeveloped sympathetically to enhance our village for the future, not just for a couple of years.
    If this scheme goes through it will be an improvement on the look of the first one But there are still a lot of questions to be answered.
    In response to bored housewife - the new plans are to cover the whole of the centre of Dorridge, that's all of Forest Court and all of the current car park - everything within that part of Avenue Road, STation approach, Station Road and Forest Road. That's a mighty big development and bigger than a lot will be expecting.
    Who knows what the rent will be, but Sainsburys are unlikely to welcome too much competition I would have thought. I welcome other independent shops and a restaurant, but they will require parking for both customers and staff and this has not been included in Sainsbury's planning application.
    The car parking will never be adequately sorted for a store this size unless they either a) put 2 storeys of car park on top of the store or knock down Forest Road houses and turn that area into car parking. Cllrs comments of the store being self-regulating are nonsense as far as patients for the surgery are concerned. If you cant park to shop, you can go elsewhere. if you cant park to go to the doctors, will we be expected to change our surgery?
    This is an ill thought out scheme. I am all for knocking down Forest Court, I don't care if there's a supermarket on it instead or more houses, but I do care if we end up with a huge store that doesnt' work for our village.

  20. The confusion is due to the way the application has been done. All the units have got all the different types of consent so they dont have to apply for change of use. That means the application size adds up to more than what is being built. I think someone added up the application numbers rather than looking at the physical size.

  21. Sad that there seems to be a feeling of "I'm bored with the debate just build something, anything".

    For the Waitrose in Knowle there are 2 public meetings, why has no one, DDRA for example, bothered to do the same for Dorridge, then some of the detail would have come out ages ago?

    Agree that independent units is a really good idea. If the new size for them is 1000 sq. m as Sainsbury's says, then combined they are much bigger than Tesco in Knowle, which Sainsbury say is 560 sq.m.

    Well done to DROVS for spotting the error on the application form. Why did no one else see this?

  22. I wrote to one of our ward councillors with concerns about the development - he suggested that the Sainsbury's in Maypole was a good example of a store that works in a residential area.

    I drove past the Maypole store yesterday: yikes! Wish I'd had a camera so that people could imagine the sort of structure that we're inviting into the village.

    I wonder if our "independent" retail units (landlord: J Sainsbury) will be rented by the same sort of shops - I noticed a Wilko, a Subway and a KFC.

    Supporting the development at its current size is basically signing up to a small retail park in the middle of the village.

  23. If Sainsburys Maypole is the best example of what we could have in store for Dorridge, lord help us all. Firstly it's on a dual carrieageway, with a massive roundabout in front of it to keep traffic moving. Secondly it's not really residential like Dorridge centre is, arn't there tower blocks opposite? (not suggesting these arn't residential) , in fact the Maypole is quite a rundown area, by comparison (don't mean to be snobbish). I think our Cllrs are grasping at straws, I dont know why they don't have the best interests of Dorridge and its residents at heart. Many of the people who are in favour of this sized store for Dorridge seem to come from Rowington, Lapworth, Chadwick End,Hockley Heath, Bentley Heath and Knowle and whilst I can udnerstand the attraction to them of a large store in Dorridge, our roads surrounding the village centre are simply not made to deal with even higher levels of traffic coming from all directions, particularly with the hundreds of kids walking to school on narrow pavements and Station Road is very narrow.

  24. Agreed Amy.

    Moving the debate on, should we read anything into the fact that our Ward Councillors and DDRA are so favourable to this development when normally, even a garden-grabbing application is subject to pretty fierce scrutiny?

    Are there bigger foorces at work here? Could it be that this is part of a wider Solihull MBC aim to focus growth in Dorridge. Is Dorridge earmarked for new home building programmes and further development in future?

  25. Where is the voice of the mighty ( or should I say midget) DDRA?????

    Silence again whilst our village flounders.

    No right minded person can really believe a store of this size is right for the location.

  26. No matter how convienent you think a large supermarket in Dorridge would be you have to face the fact that you can't squeeze a quart into a pint pot.

    All those people bemoaning the lack of shopping facilities in Dorridge are clearing living in the wrong place. Perhaps they should up stickes and move to the Maypole. The rest of us who appreciate the peace and calm of our area could get on with our lives without the blight of the Orange Invasion.

  27. Don't understand why DROVS are making such heavy weather over the application. The application form does have confusing numbers, but it is obvious that there is something odd about them. The planning statement has two simple tables in 3.3 and 3.11 which show in crystal clear terms what is being applied for.

  28. 14:54
    Dorridge is supposed to be a commerical village centre. Any peace and calm is as a result of the failings of Forest Court not by design. If Forest Court had maintained it's intital success then 'your' peace and calm wouldn't have approached the levels that you now enjoy. It's a false dawn.
    Sounds like you'd rather maintain your peace and calm than see ANY development of the village. long as your alright!

  29. Well said - its a commercial centre
    Dorridge 'village centre', even if Forest Court didn't exist is not attractive.
    to be honest Dorridge, to me, is a suburban area mainly small housing estates, a couple of roads of attractive older properties, good transport links, good schools
    Needs a supermarket of decent size - no pretty, historic anything to mar.

  30. See the 'dark forces at work' idea raising its ugly head again. If the DDRA aren't against the scheme they must be corrupt, SMBC the same.
    I feel very sorry for DDRA committee - They are regularly libelled by the DROV group. They shouldn't have to put up with it - I've seen such measured arguement form them posted on a previous thread to no avail. I agree with their stance - as in -for the development if perceived problems with parking etc are dealt with, hardly a crazy stance is it!

  31. Apparently not just the DDRA wrong - see above contributor who basically anyone who is for this Sainsbury's 'is living in the wrong area and should move to the Maypole'
    I am astounded at the arrogance. I have lived here for over 25 years and want to see this go ahead - so I should move??!! Who do these people think they are!

  32. 17.56 you no doubt have a commercial interest in the development or are completely ignorant yourself!

    17.49 where exactly are the libellous comments made against the DDRA....anonymous perhaps, so you have no proof that they were made by DROVS, if you haven't cottoned on yet, many of the anti posts on here are written by the same people and are eaisily identifiable when you go back and read them, either Sainsburys, their staff, their local PR machine, local business, supporters or the Drs surgery in which case your comment is libellous itself, but wait you are anonymous so no one can prove it.


    Dorridge resident for 12 years
    Not a member of DROVs
    Parent of 4 children who walk to local schools
    Not anti Sainsburys or development but anti size
    Large food shopper who can do a weekly shop at Tesco Knowle
    Patient at Avenue Road Surgery
    Supporter and shopper at the Butchers and Jo Jos
    Fed up of station users parking outside her home all day while they are at work making it impossible to access her own drive

  33. To nov 1st 17.04
    Has been clearly stated that structurally, the development won't take an extra storey for extra layer of parking.
    It has never been suggested that houses on Forest Road be demolished!!
    Wilder and wilder!

  34. To anon above, I was being facetious you obviously dont recognise a tongue in cheek when you see it!!
    But the only way I can see the parking working is to do something radical obviously as you say it's unlikely there would be another storey or forest road demolished so how can the parking be sorted out? DDRA were in support IF the parking was sorted but it hasn't been and neither can it be, there's nowhere else to park. Even if a 2nd storey was put on the railway car park behind the garage, would anyone wheel their trolleys down the hill, across the road, up the hill and in a lift to the 2nd storey of a remote car park, possibly in the rain, possibly in the snow, possibly with young children? I wouldn't, so that surely reduces the viability of a store this size. Also where will the staff for the store, doctors, other shops, hairdressers, residents of the flats park? I'd like to say this will be great, but I just dont see where everythign will stick together. and I'm not DROVS!!

  35. I spoke to Sainsbury's PR people this week and they will be putting out further information in a bid to make issues around the store size clearer. .

  36. “Public-relations specialists make flower arrangements of the facts, placing them so that the wilted and less attractive petals are hidden by sturdy blooms” (Alan Harrington)

  37. Smaller store supporter6 November 2011 at 09:45

    If Sainsbury's want to make things clearer, I challenge them to let us all see some 3D renderings of the plans from different angles - this kind of thing will have been done as a matter of course by their architects.

  38. And how will that help?! I suggest - not at all!

  39. Tongue in cheek - here's an idea -
    How about sticking to the facts and making valid arguements based on those.
    People pushing trolleys across the road in the snow - give me a break!

  40. Smaller store supporter6 November 2011 at 16:27

    Ok, bear with me...long post, hopefully based on facts

    If it's not shoppers pushing trolleys over the road it will be surgery patients walking that way. That's because there are just 80 spaces over and above what we have now. That can't possibly serve a Morrisons size superstore and accompanying retail units - all the shoppers, all the staff, all the patients. Even DDRA agree with that.

    Once you accept that the parking needs to increase, you have to accept that the whole plan needs to be redrawn. The car park and store size are inextricably linked at the moment; you can't increase the car park without increasing the store or building upwards. And you can't do either of those as a) the store fills the site b) Sainsbury's say the store can't support multi-storey.

    So, whether or not you support a store this size, the current plan doesn't work for us all.

    There's no harm in using the planning process to make Sainsbury's come back with something more suitbale (a smaller store would solve most of these problems). That's what Waitrose have done in Knowle.

    Sainsbury's has invested too much already to walk away from the site - don't worry!

    A little more time spent getting things right now will make a big difference in future.

  41. To above
    You are assuming that making the store smaller will lead to a proportional reduction in nos of customer trips, but this is not how it works.
    A larger store has a wider range of products and space, visitors spend longer doing a decent shop (have a more pleasant experience) and do not visit as often.
    Therefore you can not directly relate the no. of visitors to the size of store. Something that is evident from the overtrading of Knowle Tesco.
    Also, visitors to the surgery are more likely to make dual purpose trips combining seeing the doctor with shopping if the store is large enough to meet their weekly shopping needs. This is also has the benefit of reducing traffic on local roads.
    Creative approaches to parking in the village genenerally, which are under discussion and supported by the DDRA and SMBC will also help.
    Yes - time should be spent on the parking issues, the DDRA have engaged in this process. However, the DROV contingent are stuck in a default position of 'smaller store regardless' which does not follow the logical arguement and statistics available.