Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Dorridge Sainsbury's approved

COUNCILLORS tonight approved a Sainsbury’s plan for Forest Court in Dorridge.


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

Above: Arthur Hall, of Winchester Avenue, Annette Jarratt-Knock and husband David, of Besbury Close, arrived with "Say Yes to Sainsbury's" badges.

The nine members of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously voted for the plan.

The Silhillian has tweeted the debate from tonight's meeting, which lasted two-and-a-half-hours. Click here to read tweets (most recent tweets are first).

The members voted after an impassioned plea from members of the public who support and oppose the scheme. The firm hopes to open the store in 2013.

A larger plan was rejected by the committee in March last year over traffic and parking fears.

A campaign group that fought the store said it would now consider legal action.

Residents, Sainsbury's and doctors speak for and against.

John Wilson said the plan “completely contradicts” the council’s own planning policies which he said backs a smaller supermarket in Knowle.

He said: “Dorridge needs something it can be comfortable with and proud of in the long term, not something we build in haste and regret after.”

Nick Cromie, speaking for the Dorridge Residents Opposed to Village Superstore group, likened the plan to a “retail park”.

Raising safety fears over traffic’s impact on pupils walking to school, he said: “The proposed development is still not of a scale appropriate for Dorridge centre.”

He said: “Work with us for a store smaller than those proposed and you will win the support of all the community and the best outcome for Dorridge.”

Residents give their views on the decision:

Vox pop on approval for Dorridge Sainsbury"s (mp3)

Michael Adenmosun, Sainsbury's regional development executive and Ian Shearman, acting chairman of the Dorridge Residents Opposed to Village Superstore (DROVS) group give their reaction:

Sainsbury"s Dorridge interviews (mp3)

But Gary Forster, for Sainsbury’s, said there is “considerable support” for the plan, which is the “right size”.

He said: “This is the opportunity to develop a new heart for Dorridge. A smaller store has failed and would fail again.”

Dr John Davenport, for The Dorridge Practice, said: “We have had much support for the development from residents and patients.”

This included a signature of 2,000 names, he said, adding: “We believe this is an exciting opportunity for Dorridge.”

David Billingham applauded Sainsbury’s’ consultation with the public and said the plan would pump vital cash into the village.

He said: “I would ask you to begin the process of regenerating Dorridge tonight.”

Patricia Eveson said: “We should grasp Sainsbury’s’ offer of a new supermarket with open arms.

“We need this injection of new life into our village so we have a pleasant, thriving village once again.”


Above: Dr Mary Mongomery, of Grove Road, opposed the scheme.

Councillors speak of divisions.

Ward councillors, who did not have a vote on the committee, then spoke.

Dorridge & Hockley Heath ward councillors, who did not have a vote on the committee, then spoke.

Andy Mackiewicz said 99 per cent of residents want a Sainsbury’s but disagreed on the size.

Ken Meeson said there was a “tremendous split within our community” over the plan, with views “split down the middle, 50/50”.

The village had been hit by residents leaving to shop at out of town stores, he said, and there is a “strong desire” for a store.

He said: “I hope, whatever happens here this evening, we heal the rifts that there are within our community.

“I’m rather said that this issue has divided us so much and I hope we will find a way of coming together.”

Ian Courts said a poll he conducted found 52 per cent against and 42 per cent in favour of the plan. “Talk about divisive,” he said.

The committee debate begins.

Committee members then gave their views.

Jim Ryan said he was concerned about how surgery patients, particularly the elderly, would access the 175 proposed parking spaces, for shoppers and patients.

He said: “I’m afraid for me, I have to be totally honest, but this development doesn’t do it.”

It did not give assurances over the previous reasons for refusal, he said.

“I believe a lot more work needs to take place on this application before the community of Dorridge can come together and say ‘we have something we can all celebrate and we can all enjoy and is in the best interests of Dorridge’.

Referring to Sainsbury’s statement that the plan would create 200 jobs, he said: “You don’t have to destroy the centre of a village just for jobs.”

He moved deferring the plan for it to be re-thought, warning it would lead to “resentment” among the community, but was voted down.

Claire O’Kane said the reduction of the sales area of the Sainsbury’s by 26 per cent compared to the last plan was to be welcomed.

She said: “I believe it is appropriate and will have a positive impact [on the] vitality and viability of the future of Dorridge.”

Glenis Slater said Sainsbury’s and the council have worked “very very hard” to overcome objections from the previous plan.

A smaller store would be “like another convenience store” similar to Tesco opposite.

Adding that “Dorridge is not the village it was” she said: “Places grow, things change. We can’t all sit back in a time warp, we have got to grow.”

Welcoming jobs, she said: “I can see absolutely no reason, no planning reason to refuse this application.”


Above: Sainsbury's said it produced the above badges on request from residents. A store
supporter handed them out at the meeting.

But John Windmill said he showed a client the site 25 years ago when working as a solicitor and was told it “wasn’t a going concern”.

He warned Sainsbury’s could “turn round and say ‘no thank-you, there is no financial return for us, we are off’.”

Moving deferral he also said other supermarkets had been given permission with conditions such as opening hours and store size and then applied to remove them.

Alan Martin said: “It is going to change the character of Dorridge, let’s have no doubt about that at all.

“But then all most big developments do change the character of the area.”

Pointing to opposition to Safeway, now Morrisons, on the Warwick Road in Solihull, he said: “There was a very strong opposition within the borough.

“You now don’t hear any complaints about it at all.”

Robert Hulland said he was struck by the number of shoppers in the village when committee members visited on Saturday.

He said: “There was hardly any people in what should be a vibrant village shopping centre. That worried me quite a bit.”

Cllr Hulland said he was impressed that Sainsbury’s had been “going out and speaking to people” since the last plan was refused.

He said of the plan: “It gives the village a character, it seemed to look the part and reflect the nature of Dorridge.”

Mr Hulland said: “I personally feel the size of the store is right. I don’t think we can push it anymore without Sainsbury’s saying goodbye and Dorridge going into further decline.”

He added: “I don’t think we want to send a message to Sainsbury’s about this particular application.”

Jeffrey Potts said rejection would mean “you are stuck with a body that needs resuscitating and is in danger of expiring”.

He said: “Dorridge needs another chance and, at the moment, if we refuse this, what will the consequence of that be?”

Cllr Potts said: “What are the residents going to be left with? A grot spot.”

Councillors Ryan and Windmill said they would back approval subject to a travel plan being agreed with Sainsbury’s.

The application was then agreed subject to conditions including a traffic management plan.

Acting DROVS chairman Ian Shearman said: “We will consider legal possibilities but they are usually very expensive for a small group like ours and also rather narrow in their scope.

“It is a big disappointment.”

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  1. Great news! Just what we all need. No time for old views anymore - they have delayed this enough.

  2. what a shame dorridge will never be the same again very dissapointed

  3. Yes Dorridge will never be the same, but surely you want to get rid of the eyesore that is there already...I welcome the change

  4. So to get rid of the eyesore we put another eyesore in its place,perfect!!!!!!!!

  5. What do you suggest then?

  6. I think we're very lucky to have them willing to invest in the area. Fantastic news!

  7. wonderful, was at the meeting, I was proud to be a "for" as were many there. Where was rhe DROVS wall of support? The disorganised majority were there in force

  8. I think it is great news - Forest Court is an eyesore and has been for years - long before Sainsburys brought the site. Dorridge centre as it is, looks terrible - closed shops, run down buildings - just shows how beautiful Dorridge is.

  9. Great news! 8-0??

  10. Perhaps DROVS were at another meeting discussing plans to chain themselves to the demolition vehicles...or setting up a protest village,,,

  11. How can an unelected quango decide the fate of my village.None of these people live in Dorridge they have no idea at all.The usual faceless morons just look at the picture above the usual they all live in nice quiet roads far away from any supermarket this is not over by a long shot.

  12. I am not a Drovs supporter but wanted to thank Nick for an excellent presentation and for all the work the group have put in. I was there, and very much in favour of the development, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't thank others for their efforts.

  13. Oh I think it is over. Perhaps you should try this.....

  14. Unelected? ......... Except by you and I. Suspect if the vote had gone against you would be exclaiming the virtues of each and everyone of them and the power of democracy. It's my village too and I'm delighted that we are at last going to see some investment coming our way.

  15. some of these people do live in dorridge and knowle and they are elected councillors.
    You can't argue with 8 - 0
    Also, I was there, and the support for the scheme was obvious - lots of people prepared to go and stand up for what they wanted
    At last common sense prevails!!!
    Brilliant news!!

  16. So no one else in Dorridge is allowed a say. If you buy a house by a shopping prescinct then you should expect this. Sainsburys to the current site. I was brought up in Dorridge, went to school in Dorridge and still live in Dorridge. I for one is really pleased with the outcome. Finally somewhere local I can shop from and support the butchers and Jo Jo's

  17. Sainsburys-in-Arden30 November 2011 at 21:46

    It doesn’t surprise me that our Tory Councillors were all so spineless in their defence of Dorridge. That we could have predicted.

    But what does disturb me hugely is that there were many people willing to turn out to support the multi-millionaire businessman Justin King in his plucky fight against the DROVS.

    Are there really people in our midst so soulless that their prime concern in life is where their next bunch of bananas is coming from.

    Well done to the DROVS anyway – they proved there is still such a thing as community spirit.

    I know who I’d rather go for a pint with.

    See you in Waitrose.

  18. So, it transpires that there was a detail missing from the artists' impressions of the store - the large bronze statue in 'King Square' of Cllrs Meeson, Mackiewitz and Courts - for services to retail.

    Remember what these men stand for next time the elections come round.

  19. I bet Ian Spencer and Dr Upton are polishing their Nectar cards too!

  20. 21:43 what an unpleasant person you are. I was there and these people include a husband and wife who were asked for a photograph before the meeting. Whatever your views people they do not deserve this type of comment. Shame on you.

  21. 21.46 Couldn't have put it better myself.

  22. 21:46..the comment "see you in Waitrose" sums you up. You would much rather move the problem to somewhere doubt you shop in Knowle anyway

  23. Those three people are not all men one is a women how rude can some people be.I will not shop at a sub standard supermarket such as sainsburys .

    1. No, you should definitely shop at a supermarket with class, such as Aldi.

  24. I never knew there were so many horrible people in dorridge30 November 2011 at 22:02

    21:41, 21:46 Some of these comments are really very unpleasant. Regardless of "side" taken, all should be free to put their point forward. I didn't agree with a lot of what was said but those who had the courage to stand up and say what they believe should be applauded. I thought all the arguments put were constructive and heartfelt.

    I note the particularly unpleasant comments are all anon, and if you really are as nasty as you seem then I doubt anyone will want to share a pint with you anyway.

    Thank you to all sides from me, once again.

  25. Anon.21.46 I was brought up in Dorridge, went to school in Dorridge and lived there until I married. My parents who are very old still live there. Unfortunately for them they live in Avenue Road and have done for most of their married life.
    When I was a child The Warren was still a beautiful house with surrounding fields, so not everyone who lives close by chose to live next to a large supermarket with all the associated traffic and noise. No one in their right mind would have imagined that such a development would be proposed for a place like Dorridge and be approved.

    I am very disappointed this has gone through but I am more saddened by the selfishness of some Dorridge residents and their obsession with shopping at all costs. The councillor was right Dorridge has changed, big time.

  26. I think the Councillors have been very brave. There was clearly a lot of support on both sides. I have read both sides and objections of DROVS and their QC opinion and discussions. I spotted flaws and issues with the instruction and the evidence on which it was based. I think the right decision has been made. Clearly there is concern on change but I think this will enhance Dorridge and provide a real asset. Forest Court is no longer fit for purpose and has needed demolition for 20years. All residents now have the opportunity to move on. The development is clearly and obviously in accordance with national, regional and local policy. I look forward to seeing opinions when the store opens.

  27. I think the outcome tonight was to be expected, however the 8-0 vote was a surprise. The Sainsburys plan may not be perfect but at least it will breathe life into the village centre. My only concern is about the potential number of cars coming into the village in 5 years time and how they will be accommodated - although that is not part of Sainsburys' mandate, it should be considered, esp with the rise in usage of the railway station.

    I trust that tonight's result will help bring an end to the the endless snide nitpicking which has been emanating from DROVS over the last year.

    All in all, tonight was a victory for common sense.

  28. 22:08. I know how you feel - I went back to my home 'village' and it had changed beyond recognition. Like it or not however, times have changed - just look at touchwood/Solihull, four ashes. However the sad truth is that supermarkets only make money because that is where we choose to shop. Dorridge like many places of its size and type has changed. I for one am glad we will now have a store to meet this new reality. I too live on a road which will have more traffic but on balance would prefer to be able to walk to the shops - which I will.

  29. The Bard of Arden30 November 2011 at 22:27

    In Forest Court did Justin King,
    A stately pleasure-dome decree
    Where Alf, the selfish shopper ran
    Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to a sunless sea.

  30. "disorganised majority" - as organised by the the lovies at Gough Bailey Wright Public Relations company. Or did you make your own bright orange badges - colour-matched to Justin King's permatanned face?

  31. I was brought up in dorridge and moved back to the area 6 years ago as I have fond memories of dorridge and know it has a great school and nice pubs restaurants and parks. Forest court has always been ugly even when it was built but why can sainsburys be the only saviour of restoring the site? I would have been quite happy for the proposals to be rejected, sainsburys to walk away and the site to be sold for housing.

    I enjoy dorridge because it is a slow paced village with minimal commercial outlets if I had wanted to leave near a big supermarket I could have stayed in Shirley, had a lower mortgage and given up work. I do wonder about the people fully supporting the plans and being so vile to the drovs committee and many of these people attacking drovs come across as snobs with misinformed, misguided, naive assumptions.

  32. Just a very big thank you to the people who have listened and taken on board the fanastic opportunity.The re generation of forest court bringing back good shopping falicities,a place for the community to meet, not forgeting the renovation of our doctors surgery.I too have lived worked in Dorridge for the last 30 years and my children went to school.Well done to all the suports of the plan.

  33. Sorry what opportunity are you referring to? The opportunity for sainsburys to own dorridge - surely you don't believe they are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts? People will soon complain when they can't park to shop there and I do wonder the size of the lady's bag that intends to walk there for her weekly shop.? No more sedate evening sitting outside the forest for for a drink for two years whilst the building takes place, no more nipping into the local shops when there s too much traffic to stop. And do people really think when you are faced with cheap cards, cheaper quite appealing meat etc they will not buy it at sainsburys? I really hope I am wrong

  34. 22.45 You are so right.

  35. Well said 22:34

  36. 22:45 Has hit the nail on the head. Too late now though.


  37. 22:45 Really? Even DROVS were in favour of a store on the site albeit a smaller one. Either outcome would have meant disruption. As for smaller stores, it's in our hands entirely. Now we do a mix of supermarket and small store shopping - not sure that will change and actually I think we'd be more likely to shop at smaller stores in Dorridge than now.

  38. The bag "lady"30 November 2011 at 22:59

    I plan to walk up most days, and/or pop in on my way back on the train.
    When I lived in London young people used trolleys (not just old people) and in the towns of France trolleys are the height of fashion! next time I am in France I'll bring you a few back. Ps why have you assumed I'm a lady?!?

  39. 22.45, so right. I can sit at the cafe or Forest on a summers evening and watch the decaying forest court, applaud the graffiti and vandalism that will follow. magic

  40. Yes I shall no longer be visiting The Forest for a drink. Who wants to sit outside an exit to a supermarket,whilst sipping wine ...

  41. Lol !! Wait for you to start the trend then be you a man or a woman hope it fits two children on the back too

  42. Mr mrs mz magic no one has suggested leaving a decaying court but a smaller store or alternative uses for the site could have been investigated

  43. Glad to see the councillors have seen sense and approved Sainsburys. It seems to me that the only people complaining are those in Avenue Road and other surrounding roads. Talk about not in my back yard. Sainsburys will benefit the whole of Dorridge.

  44. This is looking even better than I thought .... I'm going to get a massive supermarket AND a pub all to myself! Def no traffic problems then, with all these boycotters.

  45. In 3 years time there will be 3 types of resident; those who were for and use the new centre, those who were against and use the new centre and those who were against and boycott the new centre. You will not know the first two groups apart and you will be able to count the last group on the fingers of one hand. Right now emotions are raw but we to need accept that change is coming and stop taking chunks out of one another. Every survey shows that for every for there was an against so let's not try to 'blame' or marginalise either or any group.

  46. 23:09. I'm in one of the surrounding roads and a supporter. I saw several of my neighbours there too in support also. It's in my back yard and I'm happy:-)

  47. I live on Poplar Road and will continue to drive to Tescos to do my shopping,either in Knowle or Shirley.

  48. Poplar Road: No big deal. Thats what choice is all about. You may even have a Waitrose to choose from.

  49. @23.13, Poplar Road resident who will still drive to Tescos, either in Knowle or Shirley (but not Dorridge).

    Why? Why would you do that when you would actually live in walking (or cycling, or wheelchairing) distance to the new store? You didn't explain (infuriatingly).

    Perhaps you simply like burning the fuel? Aaaah, we're past the peak oil anyway, just bring it on, use those fossil fuels up, go on. We're all screwed anyway.

    @23.11 "In 3 years time...", you talk a lot of sense, thank you.

  50. 23.09 re.Pub one customer = closure!! or had you forgotten.

  51. Because it's my choice...

  52. One thing surprised me was the number of "mature" supporters in attendance tonight, and in support. So much for the stereotype of older people being against change and stuck in the past! Dorridge Rocks!!

  53. I always thought the babyboomers were the ones in favour. Fair enough - they love their brands, they've always had it their way and they aren't getting any younger. Wall of Support was more focused on school-age parents and 70s/80s age group.

  54. I sympathise with Poplar Road resident.
    Convenience shopping currently done in Dorridge and will continue to support small retailers both old and new but will not support Sainsbury's. I do not like the store or the impact it will have on Dorridge. I do not consider a store of this size necessary for Dorridge. I will continue to support Knowle for all other shopping and as I am happy to either walk (obviously smaller items) or use the bus I am comfortable with that decision.
    The only way to protest against so many supermarkets is with our wallets it is the only language they understand.

  55. NB Further to above big superrmarkets are the conservative option I think you'll find (with a small c!).

    More radical to shop online or at indies, knit your own ypghurt etc.

  56. Hey, I'm a "babyboomer" and am not hung up on brands - that is so yesterday :-) and yes, I would probably be termed a "greenie" and love knitting.
    My parents are OAPS, conservative to the hilt and dead against it too.

  57. well, you may not like it, but Dorridge has just secured massive investment at a time of cut-backs, retrenchment, and economic doom and gloom.

    Maybe we should be thankful for that, if nothing else.

  58. I hope all the selfish residents who wanted this are now happy! Shame on you that you care nothing for the residents lives that will be destroyed because of this. When we have 24 hour opening, complete congestion and increased in crime followed by inflated insurance premiums give yourself a big pat on the back for destroying this village and the quality of lives of the surrounding residents but you have already proved YOU REALLY DONT CARE....thanks.....for nothing!

  59. I love how people are now annoyed that they will have to sit next to a building site and/or a vandalised sainsbury's...Erm have a look at what you sit next to now?

    To be totally honest, for a derelict centre the forest court could have been vandalised/targeted to a much greater extent than has done. I sincerely doubt that a new centre will be vandalised to the extent at which you seem to go on about.

    Sensible judgement for the future needs of a large collection of 3 villages.

  60. 7.49 well said.

    7.51 What concern is it of ours. The three separate villages are just that, separate. It is not for Dorridge to cater for their future shopping needs unless you are wanting to destroy their villages too. People are free to shop where they wish but to actively draw shoppers away is unfair.
    Support what you have Knowle and Bentley Heath or it will be gone before you know it.

  61. Bored (with this) housewife1 December 2011 at 08:31

    7:51. How you never go outside dorridge now for your shopping? Of course you do - do why shouldn't others come to dorridge to do theirs (unlikely given the choice they will have). Last time I looked it was a free country.

    7:49 if you are going to rant, at least be accurate;
    - its not 24 hour opening
    - there is no evidence whatsoever that a new supermarket will attract vandalism.

  62. As several or our Council remarked, this is democracy in action. While many of us might think this could have been handled better, avoiding the rift that has developed and the acrimonious exchanges which have characterised this community debate, we must accept the result and move on.

    However, the result, as I understand it, is planning approval in principle but with a substantial caveat.

    Sainsburys and SMBC officials still have to convince the Planning Committee and, implicitly, the community, so far as traffic management is concerned, that the proposed plan will work. I think this is far from given.

    As most councillors acknowledged, traffic volumes and traffic management, including parking, is the now the main and still largely unresolved critical issue of concern. There is a lot of generality and wishful thinking in this proposal.

    Rather than continue this destructive and self-indulgent habit of 'anonymous' writers bashing DROVS, DDRA, Councillors and any other individuals who offer views which differ from their own, perhaps we can turn our attention, now, to helping to get the best result for our whole community? That is, how to ensure traffic impacts are minimised?

    Can we, perhaps, even now, work together, as a community, to address this theme?

  63. I was at the meeting . A very large no of elderly people turned out in support of the store - I was full of admiration for them.
    I spoke to a lady who said she was fed up of the DROVS implying they represented people like her.
    The decision was unanimous because there were no grounds to reject the store - the caveat that that a detailed traffic plan must be in place before building can start is reasonable.
    Sorry to see opposers are so bitter - I applaud the work the DROVS did to get this store instead of the original - but to keep saying anyone who wants it is 'selfish' is just ingenuous.

  64. I have lived in Dorridge for 20 years and witnessed the decline of Forest Court. I have always supported the super market and would thank those who questioned Sainsburys first proposal.Wether or not you supported the proposal I believe that both sides of the arguement have given us an opportunity to move forward to make Dorridge an even better place to live in the future .

  65. I am so pleased with this result - I don't think I'm selfish, I do think this is a fantastic result for Dorridge.
    I read through the comments above with some dismay - The DDRA took a bashing coming up to this because they were trying to work with Sainsbury's and the concil to resolve difficulties - now the local councillors are in the line of fire.
    I was at the meeting and when these 3 spoke they represented the range of local views and don't deserve to be demonised.
    Would like to see all local groups working together now to sort out Dorridge parking and this is more a chiltern railways issue and school traffic issue than anything else.

  66. I am a supporter and hope that we can look at making this plan be the best it can.
    There was a suggestion that electric type floats could be used to deliver to local people (particularly eldery) who do their shopping in store but have problems getting it home. Apparently there is such a scheme at Waitrose in Kenilworth among other places.
    This is the sort of idea I hope will be explored further.

  67. I am really glad the discussion is turning. Some interesting ideas here that, perhaps, we should explore. Electric shuttle buses: perhaps this is an idea which, as well as getting people to the shops, could be used to deliver food to our homes and even help to solve the school run parking problem too? Who would pay for these?

    Can I make a plea for more names please. We are neighbours, after all.

  68. To bored housewife. The post you are referring to acknowledged that people were free to shop anywhere, you obviously did not read it properly.
    Their point was that it was unfair to build a supermarket that was obviously too large for Dorridge but relying on trade from the other villages to make it viable, which in turn makes theirs not so.

  69. Names please, Anonymous; let's be courteous.

    Responding to The Bag 'lady' on shopping trolleys, I'd agree. In Paris, where people shop locally and often, it is quite normal for both young and old people to use wheeled bags to get heavy things home.

    Yesterday evening, members of the Planning Committee asked that the Traffic Plan should also include a 'trolley management plan'.

    Why limit this plan to conventional shopping trolleys which are designed solely to get stuff from the shop floor to people's cars and which we have to prevent people from taking along the street? Could not this Traffic Plan also consider the scope for encouraging or even providing customers who want them to use purpose-designed trolleys to take their shopping direct to their front doors?

    I understand this has already been tried by Waitrose, elsewhere. Perhaps the time is right for Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose to try this in Dorridge and in Knowle as part of an integrated approach to reducing traffic impacts.

    One version of the updated shopping trolley is called a 'Hod' - it can be wheeled around up and down the aisles, through the checkouts and all the way home. You can even attach it to your bike.


    Does anyone else think this might be a good idea?

  70. Many have been led very nicely up the garden path by Sainsbury. they allowed the precinct to become so badly dilapidated{ a state of dis-repair;to ruin] that people were crying out for development.You only have to look at the flower beds to see what they were up to.They have treated the remaining traders with utter contempt by their actions and they should be throughly ashamed of dirty boy tactics

  71. copy of mail to Solihull Observer and Solihull News

    It was good to see so many Dorridge residents at the Council meeting. As a supporter of the project, I feel now is the time for the DDRA, DROVS and residents of Dorridge to pull together in making certain that conditions put to Sainsburys and their contractors are adhered to. There will be disruption to the centre of Dorridge and timing of HGV’s during demolition and construction must be outside school run times.
    We must also continue to lobby our councillors, concerning the growth of commuter parking and its affect on roads around the station.

    Now let us go forward together for a better Dorridge.

    John Taverner

  72. John, I completely agree with your points and, especially, that we need to address the issue of parking.

    But commuters are mainly us, or our neighbours. Commuting, shopping, travelling is what the station is for. Are you suggesting we stop people using their cars to get to the station or provide more car parking for railway users?

    I wonder if, rather than just lobbying our Councillors and expecting them to magic up a solution and impose it on us, would it not be better to invite ideas - a competition, if you like, work up some concrete suggestions ourselves (i.e. with railway users and non-railway users) and to try to form a consensus on the best way forward?

    If there were to be a an open meeting to discuss parking and practical options for Dorridge, would you be prepared to join in?

    And thanks so much for giving your name - so much more civilized!

  73. Chris, I certainly would. We need fresh ideas how to deal with the parking.

  74. I grew up in Dorridge and my father still lives there - I still live within 10 mins though.

    Dorridge needs a shot in the arm. Over the years I lived there, the independent shops disappeared. Presumably because the 'locals' didn't support them. The same people moaning about preserving Dorridge are possibly the same people who haven't done much to save the shops over many years. And so the place ended up with beauty shops and a variety of eating places - but the travel agents, cycle shop, butcher's, motor spares supplier, greengrocers have all gone. In fact, Tesco may have been the one shop to retain a degree of attraction.

    Ok I don't live in Forest Road or Avenue Road - but Forest Court was an embarrassing mess many years before Sainsbury's started showing interest. Indeed, roofing it seemed to add to its woes - attracting somewhere dry and warmer for the kids to hang out.

    A lot of personal comments have been swapped and very entrenched feelings have emerged. The decision has been made - it really is time to look forward and see this an an opportunity.

    Dorridge needs something more than hairdressers, dentists or beauty parlours.

  75. ..... Shouldn't you be in school?!!! Lol

  76. I think that you will find that Dorridge changed dramatically when the Four Ashes estate was built. We noticed that there was an increase in vandalism, graffiti and litter. Time does not stand still and there is now another plan to build even more houses. I think this is a much greater concern rather than a supermarket that will benefit many, particularly the people that find it difficult to travel greater distances. Oh yes, I remember the little shops at Dorridge, some of the owners, not all, were more like something out of The League of Gentlemen, quite unpleasant!

  77. To Dorridge Kid,

    Do you see Sainsburys as providing the stimulus that will encourage businesses to Dorridge other than hairdressers, dentists and beauty parlours? Is there anything wrong with these businesses operating in Dorridge, if people use them? What other businesses would you like to see? Can we start a wish-list?

  78. Dorridge has been a scruffy dump for decades ( Sorry to disturb some peoples rose tinted glasses )Also sorry you cant have a cosy corner shop but the World moves on . Literally thousands of people have moved into the area over the last four decades ,residents are far more likely to be a tredesman than minor aristocracy !

  79. I am happy to get involved in constructive discussion about how we might be a little more creative; how we both ensure the traffic management, trolley issues, construction traffic, and ongoing delivery issues are handled (I think those were the key points). I am happy to work constructively and in consultation with Sainsburys in moving forward.
    When I get back home I will pick up the phone to Sainsburys and see if they might be interested I engaging with a small group of residents in this way.

    I am only interested in constructive dialogue and working with people who are respectful of views different from their own.

  80. Solihull resident1 December 2011 at 14:19

    I'm unsure whether or not SMBC or the DDRA can liaise with Sainsbury's with regards to rentals on the proposed retail outlets. In order to encourage new businessess, the rates need to be capped or at the least competitive with flexible lease terms. At least this way, new businesses can give it a go and if it doesn't work out they can leave pretty quickly and give someone else the chance. I would love to open a business in Dorridge but in order for Sainsbury's to recoup monies already spent, I'm assuming their rents/rates/services charges will be astronomical, in turn only attracting the likes of (I think someone said yesterday) Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wilkinson's and something else!!!!!

  81. Well said Dorridge Kid!!!

    The worst thing that happened was the roof. I remember Forest Court before the roof went on and at the weekend it was buzzing, a real village centre. As soon as the roof went on the centre died (along with those plants in it).

    I don't have any hair so I don't need a hairdresser, I go to a dentist next to my office and I'm far too beautiful to go to a beauty parlour - why would I need to go to Dorridge then? I don't. BUT, I would definately go to some specialist smaller shops if they were encouraged to open due to the footfall from Sainsbury's.

    The current butcher is great (go and get some of his smoked bacon!) - I trust other businesses will follow suit and offer us things such as a great Deli, an improved Doctors surgery, a specialist motor / hardwear store, a post office, perhaps a newsagent, confectionary store and bike shop? Hold on a minute, these are all the great shops we used to have that have moved away from the area or closed down for various reasons: mostly because the heart of Dorridge was such an appalling offering.

    The Sainsbury development may be considered too big, but surely that is a price worth paying to get the benefits from it rather than the apparent alternative of a store that doesn't pay it's way and therefore a continued eyesore and a hole in the heart of a once vibrant community centre.

    Come on Dorridge, it wil be much better than the current mess.

  82. to solihull resident - this is pure supposition and unhelpful
    It was a problem with the against campaign that it did not stick to facts
    I don't see how SMBC of DDRA can enforce a cap on rent charged by a private landlord but it would be in Sainsbury's interest to rent out units.
    think a discussion group re parking etc would be good but only if there is some structure and expertise involved - no point in working on ideas that will not fly.

  83. Glad so many people are positive and ready to engage to make this work for Dorridge.
    Must take some photos of the precint as it is now as I'm sure once this development is up and running people will forget how truly horrible Forest Court was. Really hope those disappointed in the decision will come round to this and make their contribution to making it work too

    new contributor

  84. Lynda, as I hope is apparent, there are many other people who think this way and who would like to be part of this constructive discussion.

    My only reservation is the 'small group' aspect. Are there 9000 residents in Dorridge? I think there have been too many small, quasi-representative and essentially private groups and committees discussing and sometimes taking it upon themselves to negotiate the future for our community. And too many good, constructive ideas are drowned out by the noise of forums like this, are never progressed or are simply lost to the ether, unnoticed, edited out by 'small groups' or othewise dis-regarded.

    Instead of forming another 'small group of residents' would you be interested in developing a more open, structured public domain community process? I had a shot, last year, at outlining something along these lines at

    Essentially, this proposes sytematically to collect and publish all of the ideas, issues and concerns e.g. environmental, traffic, parking, pedestrian safety, lighting... to share information, stimulate discussion, invite ideas and to build consensus for action.

    If done well, this could begin to look like the Village Plan that, so far, we haven't even managed to kick off!

    Would you (or anyone else out there) be interested in developing these ideas?

  85. Solihull resident1 December 2011 at 15:27

    To 14:40 .... I'm sorry, supposition and unhelpful ... what are you on??? I'm an interested party in wanting to invest a business in Dorridge and this is what I get!! I'm stating only that wouldn't it be nice if there was some incentive for small businesses to get involved (ie capped rent / flexible lease etc). If there isn't some sort of incentive, all you WILL get are business that can afford to be loss leaders in order just to have a presence, and these will be the likes of shops you see on every high street .... examples given.

    Sorry for being interested.

  86. To Solihull resident 15:27

    Would you be asking Sainsburys, perhaps as part of their commitment to social responsiblity, to offer you incentives to move into one of the new units? Perhaps they might do this to help ensure a balanced business community in Dorridge, to encourage business diversity or, perhaps, to support micro-enterprises, employing local people?

    Or do you believe SMBC should offer to subsidise your business? Equally, this might be justified in order to encourage inward investment by samll businesses which offer Dorridge a range of local services and which improve the sustainability of our community?

    Sorry if this sounds like putting words into your mouth but I think these are important issues and should be addressed.

    If we leave this to the market, we might, indeed, get the business monoculture in Dorridge centre that some people fear. Perhaps SMBC, in partnership with Sainsburys could or should make a commitment to take some positive action to encourage a degree of business diversity?

    What kind of commitment would you like to see?

  87. Chris, etc; Yes - always a risk of small groups becoming fanatical sects! I take your point. I think it would be good if Sainsburys were willing to run a few consultation workshops to engage ideas about the issues outstanding.

    My guess is some broader forum (eg online) could/should also feed into that too. I think a "village plan" sounds great, but my guess is we are into evolution rather than revolution. Maybe deal with the issues in hand and see if there is a wish to develop from there?

    Note to Solihull resident; if you look on Sainsburys dorridge website there is a free phone number - if you've not already done so, why not call and ask? I think it leads to their property guys who might be able to help or put you out of your misery- either way! Good luck.

  88. Solihull resident1 December 2011 at 16:58

    Chris/Lynda - thank you for your reasoned responses.

    I certainly wouldn't be looking for SMBC to subsidise my business (I'm sure pigs flying and blue moons may happen sooner than that), but I would certainly like to think (in my ideal world) that Sainsbury's would be encouraging local enterprise by perhaps giving something like a "start-up" rent (% discount to be negotiated) with a flexible lease. If, as on your normal high street you find only leases of 5-10 years, this would certainly put me off. I'm a one man (well woman actually) band with a new line of product which are currently only available on line, but being an old fashioned girl with "retail" in her blood, I thought it may be a good idea to look at local options and certainly Dorridge is one of those .....

    Anyway, I shall investigate further. Thanks!

  89. Rather than more talking shops I'd like to see local councillors, DDRA and Solihull planning engage with Sainsbury's (the easy bit)
    Dorridge School
    And get some of these issues sorted out.
    I would hope Paul Hughes - Chairman of Governors at Dorridge School might like to address the issues of parking by parents on Station road and find them some alternative which doesn't endager the children who try to walk to school at present.
    More people commuting by train is a good thing so sorting out parking for these people is also a priority.

  90. I apologise to Solihull resident - I assumed you were being were pedalling the 'We'll only get kfc here now with terrible litter' arguement that has been used by the antis over time.
    If you are interested in one of the retail units I'm sure you should enquire. I believe Sainsbury's hope to start building in 8 months time and the store (don't know about units) should be up and running 18 monthe after that.

  91. How on earth are we going to be able to get through the Railway Bridge and beyond to Knowle anymore. We will now have one big traffic jam all the time. It's bonkers. The road system just not support the traffic that will now follow.

  92. I was at the meeting last night and was pleased that approval has been given for the Sainsburys store. One of the councillors made a suggestion that elderly people who do not drive and also are unable/do not want to use online shopping, walked to the store, made their purchases and paid for it. Then they left the goods with the store, and for a small fee, Sainsburys delivered it to them that evening. What do other people think of this?

  93. Stop moaning, start DOING!1 December 2011 at 17:58

    to 17;02 and 17;34 I agree that there is always a danger in "Talking shops" - no pun intended. So ....the real issue is whether Sainsburys are prepared to engage. Given Sainsburys have to go back to the planning committee with answers to the 4 or 5 key concerns (one of which is traffic management) raised by the Counsellors last night, one would hope they might engage, and that their consultation would involve "normal" residents, as well as DDRA, Counsellors etc.

    Instead of complaining about all the things that are wrong, and all the things you'd like OTHER people to do, why not come up with some constructive ideas yourself?

    Parking along station road by school parents is frankly nothing to do with sainsburys, but IS a good point; so write to Paul Hughes, take down registration numbers of cars who clog the road and call the police on their no-emergency number. Take some (more) action!

    Whilst I had no time for the DROVS campaign, lets admire those people who at least make an effort to improve their environment, rather than just whinging about it.

  94. Ideas ideas ideas ....1 December 2011 at 18:05

    Simon - I think its a good idea - even better if they are electric vans. Quieter and greener etc.

    My idea: Some sort of zebra or pelican crossing to assist those entering and existing the GP's surgery (might already be in the plans, but given concerns were raised last night I'm assuming not)

  95. Good luck getting any of this pie out of the sky. I attended the DROVS meeting with Sainsbury's. They couldn't care less about electric delivery vans or GP parking before approval. What makes you think they will listen now? They understand retail, they know what makes money and I fully expect this to be a conventional old-fashioned big box store like any other.

  96. Matthew - bah humbug!
    You may well be right, but DROVS didn't give up and, as you were (rightly) so keen to remind us, were instrumental in getting the initial proposal overturned.

    No doubt many ideas will be shelved or dismissed, but DROVS never gave up trying to make things better, so why should anyone else?

    Please - you/DROVS asked for support and encouragement along the way, and Nick did a fantastic job for you last night. Lets accept that "we are where we are" and turn the negativity into something more constructive. thanks.

  97. Here's a thing. If such a large proportion are opposed how can it be a good thing for the proposal to go through ? This is a community not an election of residents all in it together, not an election.

  98. there was a democratic process that took place last night with people from all sides making their point. The Counsellors who spoke are elected by those who bothered to vote. A lot of people are opposed - as was I - but it was only ever going to go one of two ways.

    As an individual in a community you can choose sit on your arse and gripe, or keep trying to make things better.

    While we all live in the same area, in this respect we are "all in it together". I share the same roads, trains, and shops as you in this locality.

  99. Lets stop DROVS bashing. They did a great job for our community, against the huge financial might of Sainsburys. Lets not forget that DROVS never ever objected to the principle of a Sainsburys store in Dorride, all they wanted was to get the result that would fit comfortable with Dorridge centre and the infrastructure that exists. Now that Sainsburys have there consent - do you really think that this giant is going to listen to any of our views - sadly I think not.

  100. You're right, DROVS did do a great job for the community - so why stop now?
    Sainsburys DON'T yet have their consent in any way that they can action - they still need to submit a traffic plan and a few other points. They can do nothing until the planning committee are happy on these points.

    19:24 I can't see much "DROVS bashing" above - far from it - most of the recent points have been about asking people stop being negative and make a more constructive contribution; that might even include you!

  101. You're absolutely right - the big giant might not listen, but isn't it worth a try? Had Drovs had that attitude we would never have got the first proposal booted out and the amendments made.

  102. If only more of the 'let's give it a try' brigade had spoken up BEFORE approval, we could now be discussing a third plan that suits Dorridge. Too little, too late. Sad you never grasped that this was always DROVS position, in lieu of anything coherent from DDRA.

  103. This development is going to have a massive impact on all of us. Its great to have Forest Court redeveloped, but SMBC have a responsibility to us as a community. Also what about the fact that SMBC have control of the car park - where is the benefit to the community from the inclusion of that. Sainsburys aren't doing us any favours here, its a business and this business is going to change Dorridge massively. Sainsburys won't be at all interested, now they have their valuable planning permission, in all those orange badge wearing supporters.

  104. DROVS only ever wanted the best for the community! Well done DROVS for standing up for our community. I found it shameful that SMBC was still tightening up the controls even as this mammoth of a proposal was being pushed over the line. How can that be right. The Councillors tht moved deferral of the application were absolutely right !! But hey ho - we're stuck with this now. All the chat above about details - well its too late. Sainsburys will do what they want, because they can now.

  105. 23.39 I fully agree.

  106. ...... But they can't "do what they want" in it's entirety. They still need to go back to the planning committee with the traffic plan and the other matters arising at the hearing. Either you can sit on the fence and moan, or continue in the Drovs spirit and try and exert what little influence you have. As a Drovs supporter it's a shame that all those who had a fighting spirit before, seem to just be negative and catatrophising. It was always the little people v the Corporation, and we did claim to want Sainsburys investment. Strikes me a little bit of one or two people taking their bat and ball home. Thats ok, but then just pipe down and stop criticising the rest of us who still want to try.

  107. I'm not taking my bat and ball home but I have seen how the supermarket machine operates. Sainsbury's are opening and extending stores here, there and everywhere; we're naive to think that this one will be any different.

    Yes, I do find it frustrating that there is now a swathe of 'Ooh let's work with Sainsbury's" people coming out of the woodwork.

    If the "fence sitters" and "damage limitation" crowd had really backed DROVS a few weeks ago, they would have had the weight of numbers to persuade our ward councillors (and maybe even DDRA)that the popular option was to oppose the plan and force Sainsbury's into a genuinely consultative Plan C.

    All academic now. Ho-hum...

  108. Matthew,
    'Popular opinion' was not to oppose, or support, as explained in the meeting. The problem was there was no 'popular opinion' it was completely divided.
    I believe the fence sitters have had their opinion changed by the results and can now see that regeneration of the village is of a real benefit.
    All academic now!

  109. Dear all those who are posting comments as 'Anonymous' and Matthew (thank you for always giving your name), is it not time to stop fighting yesterday's battles?

    You are hogging a discussion forum in which there are some people who, throughout this process, have made intelligent and constructive inputs to the discussion and who are still trying to do so now.

    Can we have some more useful and calm comments and discussion responding to positive ideas such as those made by Simon Bousfield?

    More precisely perhaps, can I invite readers (if there are any still hanging on) to help to list all the traffic issues, still unresolved, that we will be expecting or would wish the 'Traffic Plan', being developed by Sainsburys and SMBC, to cover.

    For example,
    Traffic management:
    1. what will happen when Sainsburys car park becomes full?
    1a what is the risk of gridlock at peak times e.g. when the station car park is emptying, buses are arriving/departing and when people are hunting for roadside parking spaces or waiting, on the road, as returning shoppers load up, reverse out and leave?
    2. At peak times, how will traffic be prevented from blocking behaviour at the five junctions: Forest Road, Avenue Rd, Dorridge Rd, Station Approach and, of course, the car park entrance itself?
    3. How will people get to their appointments at the surgery when Sainsburys car park is full?
    4. is two hours a reasonable parking time limit, assuming we want people to visit Dorridge to visit the doctor, go to the chemist, have their hair done, shop in a variety of locations - maybe even stop for a coffee and a chat - or for an event at the community meeting room (does that still exist?)
    5. what, precisely, are the contingency measures which are planned, for example, to prevent 'rat-running' in and around Dorridge centre?
    6. how much yellow paint will the highways department require?

    Any more issues? Solutions anyone?
    Do we want traffic lights?
    'Car park Full' signs?
    Changes of priority at road junctions?
    a One way system?
    Yet more yellow lines and enforcement?
    Parking charges?
    Parking permits?
    - a re-design/re-location of the Sainsburys car park entrance?

    Let's not leave this all to Sainsburys and SMBC.

    This is our village and we are going to be the ones driving the cars, looking for parking spaces, using the buses and walking about!

    Traffic volume:

    Can we, as a community, aim to reduce or at least to stablilize the increasing volume of traffic in and around Dorridge?

    Would that solve some of the traffic management problems?

    or do we all harken back to the days when, as one of our Councillors fondly reminisced at the planning meeting, Dorridge was vibrant with coal wagons, HGVs and car transporters?

    Do we want more car parks - or would this simply encourage yet more traffic and congestion at peak times?

    Perhaps we would prefer a few park-and-rides - one by the Village Hall, Bentley Heath..?

    Is the answer to commuter parking to encourage a new railway halt at Bentley Heath? I thought this was on the cards once.

    Or do we want, as is beginning to be suggested, to design a more integrated approach, with electric community buses taking commuters to the train, then helping with the school run, then bringing people to the shops and delivering their food back home? - is that a nice vision? Is anyone interested in developing this idea?

    More suggestions please - let's get off the back foot - let's stop complaining about how other people are designing our village and community, let's not just let it happen, piecemeal, correcting one problem and causing three others.

    Let's move forward and start to develop some positive ideas that, perhaps, we can ask SMBC, Chiltern, Sainsburys and other businesses to help us to deliver.

  110. Chris, thank you for trying to bring the discussion into line. May I suggest a side forum from the Silhillian blog to ensure consistency when discussing what future impact people would like to see. This could be quite easily be linked to the Silhillian blog site.

    Personally I think the station car park behind the petrol station does need to be expanded in some manner, as far as can be seen, this would mean going up, which in that position, would have little impact. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    A major highway improvement to prevent congestion at peak times would be the construction at the station/near the station of a pick up and drop off point, with a limited waiting time.

    A car park full sign in/out of the village would be constructive. This does not need to be the kind of signs seen in Solihull, a little more discreet maybe. This is done in some of the picturesque villages in the Cotswolds with success.

    Some restrictions on station road during school pick up times also, however I have few suggestions on how this would be done!! This needs to be done now and has been needed for a while anyway!

    I am of course talking about aspects of the area that will be out of Sainsbury's remit however, do impact the development and use of the site and the surrounding area.

    It will be better to have these smaller features (eg the pickup/drop off point) lobbied for now and in place to minimise the impact when a store opens.

    Personally I feel that there will be minimal impact without any changes (some strong exaggerations have been seen about traffic delays etc)however these small changes could be generally quite beneficial.

    Anyway hope that contributes to the discussion!

  111. Chris and Martyn, great comments. Parking and traffic is a major problem in Dorridge, ( but not as bad as Knowle), and is still a major issue even without Sainsburys.
    Thinking caps on. I have always thought about second storey on the garage car park is a given. We need pelican crossings, don't know where mind you.

    I have thought a one way system is a possible.

    But which way? ideas on the back of a fag packet please.

  112. Blogs are for people to express their feelings and should be (politely) free to do so and should not be made to feel awkward about posting anonymously.
    This encourages free expression and is to be encouraged.

  113. Chris,Martyn ,John you have all come up with some excellent ideas. Having a pick up point I think is essential.Perhaps there could be a pelican crossing at the entrance/exit of Sainsbury's to enable people to safely cross to the doctors. I feel there should be a few spaces allocated purely for the patients seeing the doctors. As when you are feeling ill the last thing you want to do is drive round the carpark looking for spaces ! I think if traffic was one way down Avenue rd and then on exit from Sainsburys was one way going past the station and up Knowle wood road it would save all the congestion on Station Road.What do others thnk?

  114. Yes, I'll stand aside although I make no excuses for being cynical as it is often a starting point for progress.

    Chris - I have a lot of respect for you and your views and it is a shame you weren't able to make them heard earlier - I know it is not for lack of trying.

    I also commend the idea of setting up an ideas repository online - although may I suggest that is separate from the Silhillian site, which I treasure for its blend of super-local news and bile-filled invective!

    Where else can we go to get things off our chest if things get too civil round here?

    Yours in sport,


  115. A one way system on one Road will just move more traffic to another Road,so I am not in favour of this. Avenue Road has no parking on either side so doesnt need to be one way.

  116. Dear All,

    thank you for your kind support and for your positive ideas and suggestions. I take from this that there is an appetite to do something along the lines of a 'community ideas board'.

    Blogs, of course, are tremendously helpful but:
    i. we can't all always be online
    ii. our ideas, thoughts and comments will, eventually, roll off the page and be lost.

    I'd agree with Martyn that it would be helpful to have another place where we can more easily capture, organise and make accessible all of the ideas, issues, supporting arguments and possible solutions that people have.

    I also agree with Matthew that Blogs are great places for reaction and discussion.

    I'd like to suggest that meetings, face to face, are also important. Personally, I think it would be nice if we were to find that we were having a regular community meeting where people can just drop in and talk with each other about what is going on in the village.

    So, what about:

    1. Starting to meet: does anyone have access to a meeting room? Otherwise I'd suggest the Station Cafe Bar to start. I propose Monday evening at 7.30pm. Could anyone make that?

    2. Starting to collect all these ideas about traffic and other issues in another place, on-line? I have a shell web site that we could use to collect and organise all our ideas. I drafted this illustrative site rather quickly about 18 months ago, hoping it might be useful. It is not well developed but perhaps we could re-configure this to do whatever we want. I'm not very good at this kind of thing so I'd be very pleased if there are any web designers out there who would be willing to help sort this out and make it more functional.

    So, if you like these suggestions, let's continue, gratefully, to use this Silhillian forum. And if some of us are able to pop in to the Station Cafe Bar at 7.30pm on Monday to meet and for a chat, that would be good.

    - or if you have any other ideas, or if some other time/place would be better for you, please suggest something.

    kind regards,

  117. Chris
    I feel this should go through DDRA as the official voice of Dorridge folk

  118. DDRA official voice of Dorridge voice,except mine ....

  119. Perhaps they will approve the traffic plan subject to a number of serious concerns about parking , pollution ,and congestion ! They dont speak for me and never will now!!

  120. We feel let down by DDRA and will no longer be supporting them either.

  121. Monday 7.30pm, Station cafe bar3 December 2011 at 19:34

    CHRIS, I'll try and be there. Looking forward to a constructive, forward-thinking discussion:-)

  122. John T,

    I would welcome, truly, DDRA support for and their constructive thoughts on these ideas. If any member of the DDRA Committee would like to contact me or, better still, to pick up the phone or meet me in person at the Station Cafe Bar on Monday evening, I'd be delighted to talk to them.

    However, I have spent 18 wearying and fruitless months inviting DDRA (the DDRA committee that is) to take an interest in my ideas.

    In particular, I have suggested that DDRA might hold more public and open meetings for residents, as I am doing now.

    I have suggested that DDRA might initiate and support a simple public domain register of concerns, issues, solutions and ideas, submitted by the residents themselves, for how to make Dorridge a better place to live.

    I have suggested that DDRA, rather than taking it upon itself to deal with everything - including the ill fated proposal to develop a Village Plan, that they might encourage open 'community project action groups' to explore ideas in detail, to work up proposals for practical actions and to present these to the rest of the community.

    Regrettably, as yet, I have received no encouragement nor support from the DDRA Committee for any of these ideas.

    Despite many offers on my part, I have, to date, not been invited to any Committee meeting to discuss my proposals in person, nor has the DDRA committee put any of my ideas to its membership or to the wider community. I do not know if my ideas have ever been put, formally, to the DDRA Committee. If they have been discussed, I do not know what views were expressed by the Committee.

    Of course, it may be that the 9000 residents of Dorridge share your own view that all community issues and views are best filtered through the DDRA committee, that 'DDRA' should decide priorities and decide what is best for Dorridge Residents and that 'DDRA' should negotiate, privately, in our name - and that it would be impertinent to suggest otherwise.

    I have nothing personally against any member of the DDRA committee. I know little about any of them. I think anyone who is prepared to volunteer their time and expertise in the service of the Community deserves praise. I believe DDRA committee members have the best of intentions when they act and may well find that they do indeed represent the views and wishes of many Dorridge residents.

    However, in my view, one DDRA AGM per year provides a wholly inadequate opportunity for residents to get together to have an informed discussion about the issues that concern them and about other matters which will affect and define the place where we all live.

    One DDRA AGM a year is insufficient to provide the Committee, however well intentioned, however expert and however well informed, with a mandate to negotiate detailed issues on our behalf without reference back to its Membership.

    One DDRA AGM a year is insufficient to give the Committee nor any individual member the authority to claim to be 'the official voice of Dorridge'.

    Personally, I believe we can do much more to ensure, so far as possible, that all members of our community including SMBC, businesses and residents are well informed, engaged and empowered.

    I have put forward some ideas - it would be great if you and others could help refine these.

    If you think that is such a bad aim, and the protecting the status quo is the best thing for Dorridge, please say so!

    And, I know it's short notice, but please do drop by on Monday, if you can - if only to support our newest local micro-enterprise!

    kind regards,

  123. Does anyone know, definitively, what is the scope of the Travel Plan?

    The term does not mean much to me.

    How far from Sainsburys site will be covered. Will the TP address issues such as: parking and the interaction of shoppers traffic, rail-commuter traffic, the school run, pedestrian movements (e.g. Arden School children) etc.

    If anyone from SMBC, Sainsburys etc is listening, please would you provide this information or, if it is already in the public domain, tell us where to find it?

    many thanks

  124. A wise decision, Dorridge has been given many years to sort out its own precincts and shops come and shops go - all seem to struggle with the lack of trade and lack of investment into a 1960's concrete monstrosity (who ever approved that!!!) Time to move on Dorridge will prosper and yes it will be different, nothing ever stays the same.

    As a Dorridge resident for most of my 40+ years I see nothing but a good healthy future for jobs, trade and are-energised village. No it won't be like wandering into cock and thextons in the early 70's to buy a packet of cigarettes (maybe a little underage....) but it will provide investment, interest, jobs and lots of positive aspects, unfortunately with that comes, disturbance, development and traffic. That is life today.

    Move on or die, I am glad the council chose to move on for Dorridge.


  125. Move on or die-Charming!

  126. Ok - Move on or Die may be a little harsh - move on with the times or wither away slowly, lose all visitors, custom and facilities for the older residents lose all community focus, in fact yep, right the first time, I think..

  127. "Sainsbury. they allowed the precinct to become so badly dilapidated" - Dream on loser. Forest Court went into terminal decline long long before Sainsbury's became involved and why - because you and others stopped supporting the shops. I recall Forest Court being built and when the roofed it over only for it to start leaking within months. At least we get something we nan actually use. As for those saying they will not use it even though living nearby - they will be adding to the traffic something they claimed to be against. As for the person saying those against DROVS were snobs - have you actually met any of the founding members? I know who the snobs are.

  128. Woodchester Road Resident4 December 2011 at 17:00

    I am very sorry that DDRA continues to be berated for trying to do what they think is best for Dorridge. I for one am grateful that so many are prepared to put in the time, and put their head over the parapet, for the good of the community. How many of the gripers put themselves forward for the committee? It's amazing how many are now ready to swing into action, no doubt hoping that they can still influence the decision. The danger is that there will be too many groups. I agree with John T - involve DDRA as they have the support of the majority of the community and also the experience of dealing with SMBC.
    Good luck, DDRA and a big thank you for all you do!

  129. Well I hope I'm not being numbered amongst the 'gripers' nor as someone unwilling to put my head above the parapet!

    I would be delighted, truly, if DDRA committee members would support this new, simple, positive, open community initiative (please see my previous posts).

    Sadly, despite 18 months of trying, I have failed to obtain any response whatsoever from the DDRA committee. To date, despite many offers from me, they have not invited me to any committee meeting even to discuss these ideas.

    Ever optimistic, I very much hope DDRA committee members will pick up the phone, email me or, better still, join me and other people for a chat in the Station Cafe Bar, tomorrow (Monday) at 7.30pm and offer some positive suggestions for how we can do things better.

    I am, emphatically, not proposing a campaign, nor a new pressure group, nor another blog (we have many excellent ones) nor even a negotiating group.

    My own proposal is simply that we meet more often as a community (one DDRA AGM per year with important issues sqeezed onto the agenda is not enough to give DDRA a mandate or the authority to be 'the official voice of Dorridge residents'), that we have a civilized, structured and informed discussion about the issues that concern us and that we have a place, on-line, where anyone can put forward, without pre-judgement or filtering through any committee, their own ideas for how to make Dorridge a better place - including suggestions for and responses to the Dorridge 'Travel Plan', whatever that is!

    Is that really such a bad idea?

    Be brave, come along tomorrow, put forward some of your own positive ideas and find out for yourself. You might find you like it.

  130. Are Drovs and the people against this completely self centred?

    Even if the store is too big, and even if some people don't like it, can we just remember that we are in what is affect a depression. Seven years of austerity coming up and a massive jobs recessions along with 20% youth unemployment.

    This scheme will have a significant net gain to the local jobs market, in particular youth unemployment.

    The DROVs supportors in their 5 bedroom detached houses should be ashamed of themselves.

    PS: I live in Knowle and will be fully supporting Waitrose.

  131. Re above-well if it's so bad won't we all be shopping at Aldi and not Sainsburys?

  132. To Anon. 19.13

    1. Support DROVS but do not live in a 5 bedroomed house.
    2. You say you will be fully supporting Waitrose - what about Tesco who have given good service to Knowle for many years and the other smaller retailers who will undoubtedly lose trade to Waitrose. Self centred??
    3. Is there a guarantee that staff will be found locally?
    4. How many families lose employment or indeed their own business when large stores arrive.

    I prefer to support locally owned businesses and growers or at least those that have been in a district for a very long time and have established themselves as part of the community.
    So no I do not consider myself self centred and in the hard times that you describe it is even more important that we support the smaller retailers lest we lose them forever and they lose their jobs/business.

  133. For the last time...19:13 supermarkets don't create jobs - in fact their ruthless efficiency has been shown to reduce employment compared to the alternatives. (Yes, I do have a well thumbed copy of Tescopoly on the shelf.)

  134. Any ideas for how we could encourage more businesses to Dorridge? We have been focussing on shops and creating, essentially, shelf-stacking jobs. But, in the name of sustainabilty, shouldn't we be encouraging micro-businesses, and other start-ups? There must be a pool of entrepreneurial young people in and around Dorridge, educated here, probably still living with their parents? People who might welcome a basic serviced space to start new micro-enterprises.
    We will be losing the office space in the existing shopping centre. Anyone any ideas for supporting micro-enterprises in Dorridge?

  135. Well. I'm moving having lived here since 1967. Dorridge sponsored by Sainsbury's? You are welcome to it. The NHS sponsored by Sainsbury's? Even a bigger joke. If you want to shop cost effectively, use the local green grocer in Bentley Heath who is on average 40% cheaper than any supermarket. The meat supplied by our local butchers, is far better in quality and therefore more economical than the trash supplied by supermarkets. What's this flannel about jobs? This will cost jobs in other retailers and I bet the majority of the staff will anyway be employed from outside Dorridge and Knowle. But TV and Tescos is the culture the majority (of half-wits in my opinion) want. Clutter up your lives more. Like all the good things of Old Dorridge, the swallows, the house-martins, that used to live here before the place was trashed, I'm off. Enjoy your lives I'm glad not to be a part of it.

  136. Well said John!


  137. Bye John. Missing you already!

  138. You leaving too Matthew??
    So John's off to live in cloud cookoo land! Hope he find such an idyll in today's England.
    Sounds a bit batty in the belfy rather than swallows in Forest Court!
    Only on half wit here!

    Just out of interest John, where is this economic utopia you're leaving us for?
    Tarrah JB!

  139. To John Bruce,
    I too miss the clip clop of the horses hooves on the cobbles of Station Approach, the children bowling hoops along Poplar Road, the street market in the old square, the gas lights, the blacksmiths on Station Road, the arrival of the 'iron horse'! Ahh those were the days!!
    Where did they go!!
    Hope you find them again, but don't hold your breath!
    Bye bye John

  140. Gosh how cynical you all are. I actually agree with John and I hope he finds what he is looking for.
    Sainsbury's will definitely change Dorridge and its character not just because of the buildings and development but mainly because those of us who liked the peace of Dorridge will leave and those coming in will be happiest in a busy environment, the dynamics of the place will change completely.
    I am not saying one is better than the other but the new Dorridge will not be to my taste.

  141. Is there really ANY need to be SO rude. Oh and thanks for providing your names (not) .... you yellow bellies! Go and "troll" another website!

  142. Sarah C?
    Whilst the posts may be a little sarcastic, granted, what's your contribution to the topic in question, or are you just 'trolling' too!

  143. Right back at you JP!!

  144. Sarah,
    Almost right
    The 'sarcastic one'!

  145. Is this still raging on? The fact of the matter is that Sainsbury's is coming to Dorridge whether you like it or not so your choices are simple.

    Is Matthew going? Ah, what a shame, no really....who's dull rants are we to laugh at now?

  146. "The fact of the matter is that Sainsbury's is coming to Dorridge"


  147. Not looked on here for a while
    last post I saw was one including some constructive comments by Chris and some sane responses - what a shame we're back to the above again.
    SAINSBURYS IS COMING! The only troll on here is John Bruce! Swallows and housemartins - got to be a joke right ?!
    Lets get on - look forward

  148. Can some of the above posters not see what harm they are doing to Dorridge. No one in their right mind would choose to live in a community where there is such intolerance and selfishness.

  149. I'm creating a small yet dedicated group of individuals who will be trained and ready when the bull dozers come - we will stand (sit, etc) in the precinct, doing our up most to stop this [the sainsburys build]. Dorridge is a village, it is not a town. I went to Dorridge junior school and count it a pivotal moment in my up bringing. I believe Sainsburys will destroy completely any chance of future children enjoying the same development and enjoyment I had. I will not stop until a more appropriate solution is decided upon.

    Sainsburys is 25% owned by Qatar Holdings LLC, why are we even contemplating the money we spend profiting a faceless investment authority? Why could'nt the individuals within Dorridge come together to create something which is truly adds something to the local community?

    For example - the residents of Dorridge decide overwhelmingly a small park with a small number of boutique shops are the most desirable preference. Each resident agrees a small one off fee to facilitate the demolition of the existing buildings and the construction of a new green area.

    My aim is to have each and every resident of Dorridge behind the above idea to give us a platform to force Sainsburys to sell the plot they have obtained over the last 15 years at a reasonable price to the local community.

    E-mail me at

  150. Miles Billington16 March 2014 at 08:47

    I got back from uni two days ago and I thought to myself maybe, just maybe, the town I grew up in would have some respect for itself. I walked round the corner from the train station and there it was Sainsbury's has already started defecating on my hometown. It makes me sad to think that we have chosen to bulldoze a large area of our town simply to save ourselves a drive to Solihull or wherever you previously did your shopping. I will not be affiliated with Sainsbury's, we have brought a curse in the shape of a company down upon our village. Lets see if we think it's such a great idea when you all go to shop there and realise that their prices are rediculous due to the cost of convenience. I seem to remember us having a Tesco which served convenience needs and who had half decent prices as well. They're still there you say? Well they won't be once Sainsbury's is built they'll be crushed and so will the butcher, the Bentley heath fruit and beg shop, the co-op may last for a bit but then they'll go down too. They will suck everything out of Dorridge until the only thing that is left is Sainsbury's. You may as well change the welcome signs already. Welcome to Sainsbury's, Please drive carefully.