Wednesday, 5 October 2011

QC: Sainbury's plan breaches policy

A QC commissioned by a group opposed to a Dorridge plan for Sainsbury’s has said the scheme conflicts with planning rules.

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Jeremy Cahill QC backed a report by Tyler Parks planning consultants, also commissioned by the Dorridge Residents Opposed to Village Superstore (DROVS) group, which hit out at the plan.

That report said the Forest Court scheme goes against national planning guidance PPS4, which says plans must be “consistent” with surroundings and an “appropriate scale”.

No mention of the need for a supermarket is in Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s unitary development plan, which guides what can be built, it says.

It successor, the core strategy, which has not been finalised, does not make clear the need for a supermarket, it adds.

Sainsbury’s plan is also contrary to a council-commissioned 2009 report from consultants DTZ which only backed a 550sqm supermarket for Knowle, it says.

Mr Cahill said: “As regards scale, I am in broad agreement with the analysis set out in the Tyler-Parkes letter, for it is clear to me that the current proposal is far too large when regard is had to existing local policy, and in particular to emerging local policy.”

He says the proposed 1,812sqm sales area store is “disproportionate” as it is of a similar size to Solihull supermarkets.

He points out that the plan is twice the size of a Waitrose proposed for Knowle, which itself is 24 per cent smaller than a plan proposed last year.

Mr Cahill said: “It cannot be consistent with local planning policy to locate a much larger store in Dorridge than that intended for Knowle.”

His report adds that “it seems highly unlikely that there is the spare capacity to support a store of the size that is being proposed”.

Referring to the DTZ report call for a 550sqm Knowle supermarket, he said: “Even if one were to proceed upon the basis that all this capacity should be catered for in Dorridge (and that the remaining local centres should have no new retail development), there is insufficient capacity currently to warrant a store of 1,812 sq m.”

In a press release, a DROVS spokesman said: “It’s wonderful that this pivotal QC opinion matches the views of local people – that Dorridge doesn’t need a development on this scale.”

Mr Cahill specialises in specialises in planning and environmental law at Birmingham's No 5 Chambers.

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  1. Time for Sainsbury's to withdraw their application and go back to the drawing board?

  2. Oh I do hope not. I really do hope it goes through....

  3. @ 9.39 and what wouLd you suggest with the land IF Sainsburys withdraw from this Proposal? Another 5-10 years of looking at this hell hole they call Forest Court? In my view it would it would mean the death of Dorridge Retailers. As it stands at the moment, less and less people are coming to Dorridge. Perhaps the only survivors would be hair, beauty & nails!!!


  4. I'd suggest that Sainsbury's come back with a plan for a store around half the size that we could all live with. Fear of the alternatives isn't really a consideration.

    Anyway, why does it matter how many people come to Dorridge? As long as there are enough amenities for people living here...

  5. Agree with 14:18. So we get a really big supermarket that's not overcrowded and parking is less of an issue. As a woman I always say better too big than too small.
    Ps those of us who've lived here many a year will remember parking was awful with lots of small outlets and current arrangements. I think we've got used to easy parking - as was said above, no-one comes to dorridge.

  6. Tread very carefully Drovs/opposers. Sainsburys own the property development company that look after the land, and can sit on that whole area for as long as they want. I hoped to god it goes through.

  7. Hope to God it doesn't!

  8. Sainsbury's have made it quite clear that it needs to make it's money back. IF they can't get it through now, they'll just sit tight....

    I for one don't fancy having to put up with Forest Court for another 10 years because of the scare mongering nimby's opposing the proposals.

  9. Who's scaremongering now 12:03? Sainsbury's have never said that it's this or nothing as far as I know.

    Forest Court isn't really anything to put up with - it's just a void.

    But a store the size of Morrisons Solihull attracting shoppers and traffic from miles around, with deliveries starting at 5am, lights blazing from the rooftop carpark, preventing any other smaller traders from flourishing. Now, that would be something to put up with.

    Examples please of a store this size in a community like ours... There isn't one! Why should we put up with it?

  10. @15:48

    Such nonsense. Why are people going to drive past other supermarkets to get to this one? You're talking utter rot!

    The only people who will hear the deliveries are the ones that live next to the railway station anyway and trains run throughout the night so more nonsense.

    Lights blazing from the rooftop? Yes I'm sure they'll have a lazer show and fireworks just to annoy the locals! Why would they do that?

    As I said scaremongering from the nimbys

  11. Well said 16.35 and so true are your comments. As for Matthew's comment aboutthe size of Morrisons equivelent being here is "preventing other smaller traders from flourishing" is a load of rubbish. Dorridge has been dying since the removal of the Post Office a few years ago and once that had been removed, fewer people had less reason to come and shop here this is not Sainsburys fault!!!!! It will give healthy competition to the local shops and those who shop at the butchers will continue to do so....

  12. I very much doubt that Sainsbury's will be "healthy" competition to existing local shops (other than the multitude of nail, hair and tan shops) more likely to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

  13. @21:26 What camel is that? There are barley any independent shops. The butchers supports it as does the chemists leaving the off licence which if we're honest isn't much cop. I don't think we're set to lose anything of value yet we'll gain a great deal.