Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Sainsbury's plan 1% smaller

THE amount of shop floor space in a new Sainsbury’s plan for Dorridge is just 1 per cent less than a scheme rejected last year, the firm has said.

Dorridge_view_1_-_from_car_park_of_Arden_Buildings - Copy

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

While the supermarket sales are has been reduced by 26 per cent to 4,414sqm from the last scheme, the floorspace for extra shops has risen.

It now proposes seven retail units and two kiosks of 1,239sqm compared to 549sqm for the last scheme, rejected by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council in March 2010.

This means the total floor space is 5,653sqm compared to 5,689sqm before, a reduction of one per cent.

The firm said this was to support parking on top of the store instead of below as originally proposed.

Yet it said the Sainsbury's sales area was the key figure as this will drive demand for the store.

As previously reported by The Silhillian, the entire store – including sales and backroom areas - would be 14 per cent smaller.

Sainsbury’s produced figures to show campaign group Dorridge Residents Opposed to Village Superstore was incorrect to say the development would be 48 per cent bigger.

The store included the 1,239sqm figure five times in its planning application as its wanted “flexibility” on the type of retail use that would be used.

These were counted five times by DROVS, leading it to publicly claim the development is 48 per cent bigger.

The campaign group said: “DROVS is pleased that Sainsbury’s has acknowledged the error they made.”

At the time of the 48 per cent claim, Sainsbury's said DROVS was putting out “completely inaccurate and misleading” information but did not explain why.

It is part of two detailed responses (here and here) from Sainsbury’s to questions and concerns from DROVS over the plan, which is the council is expected to make a decision on soon.

Click here for previous Sainsbury's stories.

Sainsbury’s said: “There is a clear need for the proposal. The scale of development is critical
to clawing back lost trade to Dorridge.”

Village shops take just four per cent of trade from the area, it says.

“The majority of residents are choosing to shop elsewhere. This is not a healthy position
for shops in Dorridge.

“The scale of the supermarket proposed will help retain expenditure locally. Local shops will benefit from linked trips.”

A DROVS commissioned report by planning lawyer Jeremy Cahill QC said the scheme goes against national and local planning policies.

The plan does not meet national policy PPS4 which says plans must be “consistent” with surroundings and an “appropriate scale” he said.

But Sainsbury’s says PPS4 backs economic growth in existing towns and villages, and this accords with its store plan.

Mr Cahill said the need for a supermarket in Dorridge is not included in a 2006 council blueprint on future borough development and its successor, currently being consulted on.

Yet Sainsbury’s said the 2006 plan is ‘largely out of date’ and its replacement carries “minimal weight” as the Government is changing planning laws to allow a presumption in favour of “sustainable development”.

And it says the plans “do not constitute new retail floorspace” as the 5,653sqm is similar to the total size of Forest Court, 4,100sqm.

It even says: “Sainsbury’s could operate a foodstore of a size comparable to the application proposals within Forest Court without the need for planning permission.”

Yet DROVS hit out at Sainsbury’s for including the atrium and residential units in the 4,100sqm figure.

When these are taken off, existing shops total 2,904sqm, almost half the proposed Sainsbury’s plan.

The firm has acknowledged the car park could be full at peak times but said: “In reality, if the
car park were ever to get this busy, customers would simply revert to using stores elsewhere or change the time at which they choose to visit the store.”

The planned 175 spaces could accommodate the 20 to 30 staff who work there at one time, Sainsbury’s said.

The firm will be “encouraging staff to travel to the store by sustainable modes such as by bus,
walking and cycling as well as encouraging car sharing”.

Yet DROVS said: “Sainsbury’s traffic assessment still ignores the proposed seven retail units, allowing them to claim a far bigger reduction in traffic flows than can be expected.”

It said staff from the other units will have to use spaces too.

The group added: “DROVS was disappointed that so many questions needed to be asked to get clarity on the impact that this development would have on Dorridge and Knowle.

“Unfortunately, despite recent publications from Sainsbury's developers, many of our questions remain.”

Sainsbury’s also responded to concerns from The Knowle Society about lorries, to come from the Warwick Road down Station Road to Dorridge.

The firm said: “The work submitted in support of the application shows that delivery vehicles
can navigate the Station Road / Widney Road / Grove Road roundabout and will not impede traffic flows.

“It is not anticipated that the development will generate significant additional traffic in the direct vicinity of Arden School.”

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  1. Smoke and mirrors.

    How can we believe that the sum of the retail floor space occupied by the existing (empty) shops in Forest Court is anywhere near the same as that for the proposed new supermarket plus independent units.

  2. So the car park WILL be full at peak times .....just don't need to visit the surgery during Sainsbury's opening hours.

  3. Of course the 4100 square feet includes the flats above the old Budgen supermarket and the glass covered courtyard in front of the shops....trust the might Sainsbury to put a spin onto the figures.

  4. What is 1% between friends. lol

    You have been rumbled Justin King

  5. The peak times obviously being Saturday afternoons and Sundays, when the doctor's is closed. Doh!

  6. So we can all look forward to a nice quite time on Sunday then!!!!!

  7. I am not a DROVS support but am grateful to them for drawing our attention to the misinformation put out about this proposed development.

  8. If the total development is only 1% smaller and the first application was refused because it was too large then it follows that this application will likewise me turned down.

    Back to the drawing board please Sainsbury and come up with a design suitable for the site and in line with the result of your own consultation with local people .

  9. You nimby's are unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

  10. *We* can all look forward to a quiet Sunday yes. I take it you live next door to Forest Court, in which case, no, your Sundays will change. I feel for you, but that's progress.

  11. Sainsbury must hope we are all daft.

    Comparing the floor area of the new supermarket to the existing shops + the flats + the open space under the glass atrium is just deceitful.

  12. It is my belief that the best solution is for Sainsbury to develop the site of the Village Hall with an adequate car park. All this talk of people walking to the shops is pie in the sky. You try carrying 4 litres of milk any distance.

    Forest Court could then be redesigned in incorporate a new Village Hall facility close to public transport and thus of great use to young and old alike. The doctors surgery could be extended and a pharmmacy include nearby.

    Where is the problem with that solution.

  13. If you willfully misunderstand what is being said you are daft.

    Quote: "The proposed foodstore is no larger than the existing retail floorspace it will replace"

    i.e. the supermarket (not the other units/restaurant/doctors) is smaller than the existing Forest Court.

    Go and read what Sainsbury's have actually said - the link is above.

  14. What is to stop Sainsbury coming back in a year or two and saying that for operational reasons they need to open 24 hours per day.

  15. The same thing that stops them opening 24 hours at Marshall Lake. The planning permission expressly forbids it du to the proximity of residential properties.

    If they could open Marshall Lake 24 hours surely they would?

  16. To 15.59

    I think you are confused.

    The retail floor space on the new supermarket would be 4414sqm. Sainsbury say that is comparable to the existing retail space of 4100 sqm at Forest Court. Unfortunately this figure includes the floor area of the residential flats and the circulation space ( public realm ) under the glass roof. The true figure for retail space is 2904sqm.

    What we should look at is:

    Supermarket retail space 4414sqm + independent shops 1239sqm = 5653sqm compared to existing shops 2904 sqm.

    Sorry to sound pendantic but it is Sainsbury that started all this statistical rubbish.

    Whichever way you look at things and however much you would like a big supermarket in Dorridge , the site is just too small for what is proposed.

  17. How did Tesco get permission at Monkspath? They have houses on two sides.

  18. RE: Forest Court / Sainsbury's size

    Forest court, shop units only = 2,904sqm
    Sainsbury's sales area only = 1,812sqm
    Sainsbury's store size total = 4,414sqm

  19. Thanks Silhillian - that clears it up.

  20. Lies , dam lies and statistics.

    We could twist and turn over these numbers forever.

    The bald fact is that the proposal (supermarket, shop units and extended surgery) is just too big for the site. The cars generated will overwhelm the facilities.

    Just remember that 3 extra consulting rooms will result in 3 extra health care professionals plus 3 patients being treated plus a minimum of 3 in the waiting room.

    Whichever way you come at the issue there will not be enough car parking. It is all well and good Sainsbury saying that their customers will go elsewhere or chose to shop at a different time, sick people do not have that option.

  21. To 16:13 - Tesco's was there BEFORE the houses so those that purchased knew what they were getting themselves into!! As for the 24 hour licence .... who knows!

  22. If Sainsbury were really community minded they would extend the surgery with no strings attached.

    I don't think they will.

    All this talk of supporting our GPs is just a cynical ploy by big business and intended to deflect us from the real problems with their store.

  23. We must point out that it wasn't DROVS who incorrectly totalled the figures - it was Sainsbury's and their developers.

    In their letter to us they admit "In adding up this floorspace 5 times, the figure of 8,007sq.m has been incorrectly calculated."

    Needless to say they did not thank us for pointing out the error.

    The devil is indeed in the detail - and we hope that it is becoming clear now that this development is still vastly out of proportion with its setting.

  24. The Knowle Society organised 2 public meetings so that the detail, good and bad, is exposed to everyone. DDRA have done nothing to create an informed debate and have done nothing to dig out the sorts of detail which is now coming out. They criticised the plans, then said that they would support them anyway! Finally they suggesed that they would influence the plans after they were approved. Planning does not work like that, you get permission for a bungalow, you have to build a bungalow. DDRA have failed in their duty to represent all the residents of Dorridge. Pitful in comparison with The Knowle Society.

  25. What is going on here? How can the development be only 1% smaller than the one rejected in 2009 for being of an excessive scale? It does not make sense.

  26. If Sainsbury's are paying for this small extension to the doctors' surgery, do the doctors pay tax on it? While the surgery provides a service to the local community, it is actually a private business. I wish an external company would spend a great deal improving my offices at no cost to my business!

  27. I live in Bentley Heath and was looking forward to shopping at Sainsburys but that was when i thought that it was a Local. I had no idea it was such a large store until i saw the recent letters in the Observer and News and looked into it further.

    I have grave concerns as it would appear from reading the letters in the paper the comments on the DROVs website and here on the Silhillian that there isnt enough parking, that a developmetn on such a large scale will have a detremental impact on Dorridge, there are serious safety issues for the 100s of school children who walk to our local schools, that our infrastructre is not big enough to cope etc etc.

    It would appear that all those who are writing to support this application either dont live in the area or have a commercial interest in it, which is not sufficient reason to impose such a huge carbuncle on Dorridge!

  28. 19.34 Brilliantly put.

  29. Woodchester Road Resident16 November 2011 at 09:07

    I live in the area (and have done for more thsn 40 years!) I have NO commercial interest. Yet I support Sainsbury's application and I object strongly to the implication that I am in someway going to benefit financially. The benefit will be in the convenience of being able to shop locally rather than getting in the car to go to Shirley or Monkspath. There is also the huge benefit of an eyesore being re-developed. Please save us from more flats!!

  30. 19.34
    "It would appear that all those who are writing to support this application either dont live in the area or have a commercial interest in it"
    Hee, hee, more conspiracy theories.
    These kind of comments really do demean your point of view which was otherwise well made!
    Oh dear.

  31. Woodchester Road Resident
    I agree wholeheartedly.
    As if we, those in agreement with the proposals, are going to benefit financially! Be nice, but not realistic.
    What a silly thing to say!

  32. Dorridge Road resident16 November 2011 at 09:54

    I am totally supportive of the new development, and think the new design looks great.
    I will be directly affected by an increase in traffic and have 3 children at local schools all of whom walk - and have no financial or commercial interest.
    I that clear enough?

  33. Smaller store supporter16 November 2011 at 12:51

    Would the last few posters (inc. Woodchester and Dorridge Road residents care to say whether they would use the store ONLY if it goes ahead at its current size and with lots of accompanying Sainsbury's owned retail space?

    It may be that the solution is to compromise on a smaller store. Isn't that what all the polls so far have pointed to?


  34. Yes "Smaller Store Supporter", a smaller store is precisely what all the polls have pointed to - the DROVS-backed residents' poll, the school governors' questionnaire, even Sainsbury's own survey.

    What makes me laugh is in Sainsbury's letter to DROVS they try to justify their level of public consultation - no doubt with a nervous glance to the planners, as this is a requirement.

    In fact the level of consultation borders on the contemptuous...

    - Sainsbury's ignored the results of their own survey on store size

    - They held small "invitation only" workshops, carefully facilitated by a meeting company to acheive a favourable outcome. (I have it on good authority that some attendees were discovered to be Sainsbury's staff!)

    - Allegedly, Sainsbury's only deigned to meet DROVS only when advised to do so by a certain other residents' group

    - Unlike Waitrose in Knowle, Sainsburys and their developers haven't been brave enough to hold a public meeting

    Consultation. What consultation?

  35. 13.07

    I couldn't put it better myself.

    Thank you.

    PS and you didn't feel the need to be rude ....well done.

  36. No you are not being fair
    The workshops had representives from all interested local groups including the DROVS,patient participation group, etc.
    The 'outcome' was not 'manipulated' to be 'favourable' - it was a chance for all those there to put forward their views which they duly did. This information has been used to make changes so that the new development addresses some of these issues
    And yes - less retail floor space for Sainsbury's is a massive concession.
    THERE WERE NOT ANY UNDERCOVER SAINSBURY'S STAFF THERE!! I was there - and you 13.07 obviously weren't!
    As for you comment - hiding behind 'alledgedly' to put forward a blatant untruth - that is contemptible.
    Sorry if I sound rude - I am actually disgusted

  37. how on earth did the Sainsbury's people disguise themselves- who did they claim to be?
    and the anti group want to be taken seriously. what a lot of bull.

  38. Once and for all I re-quote the Silhillian from above
    Forest Court shop units - 2,904sqm
    Sainsbury's sales area 1,812sqm
    These are the relevant figures and have the advantage of being correct rather than some weird manipulation.
    Stop saying it won't fit on the site - it patently will
    But most of all please stop making things up.
    Does anyone know when it will actually be dealt with at planning - the sooner the better and lets hope common sense prevails and the development can begin.

  39. To be honest we are so turned off Sainsbury's because of the way they have handled this application it won't matter what size the store is now we won't be shopping there or any of their other shops for that matter. Knowle is so close and the shops there have always given good service so we will continue to shop there. Maybe if it had been a much smaller village supermarket we would have felt differently as we support Dorridge whenever possible but we do not like the lack of public discussions, inaccuracies and lack of consideration for those, young and old who actually live in Dorridge 24/7.

    We cannot understand why anyone would accept increased traffic, road noise, hazards for young children walking to school and all other inconveniences (parking for existing businesses, doctors, lack of weekend and evening peace and quiet for centre residents etc.,) all for the sake of a few groceries when there are any number of supermarkets within a very close distance anyway. Lets hope families with sick children and indeed all patients, will be able to find parking close by when they need to visit the doctor in the middle of winter - and that's not being emotional.

  40. Sadly I can't reveal my name here, but I was at the workshops in July 2010 held at St Philips and can sincerely back up what was said above.

    The meeting I was at was driven forward to a tight agenda by a company I think called Meeting Magic and the event was invitation only. I understand that no one from DROVS was invited - although one of their members was allowed to attend as she basically turned up and insisted!

    At one point a lady showed us a cardboard model of a proposed store. This might be the person who had a connection with Sainsbury's - maybe not a direct employee, but what you might call "a ringer".

    The model looked very much like the current plan, so it seems to me that this is what Sainsbury's wanted to build all along!

    I suppose this is largely irrelevant now - Sainsbury's have ticked the "consultation" box and ploughed on...

  41. Smaller store supporter17 November 2011 at 10:21

    Can anyone see the bigger picture here? They're planning to build new homes behind Arden School. There are also plans for around 40 new homes in Four Ashes.

    It has been decided by our councillors that Dorridge is a an area ripe for development - the supermarkets proposed here and in Knowle will be waved through by the council to support that planned expansion.

    I suspect our councillors (and to some degree DDRA) are in on this and that's why they won't oppose this bonkers plan. Why, for example, doesn't Dorridge have a Local Plan to guard against excessive development?

  42. Dorridge was supposed to have a village plan drawn up and DDRA was tasked with setting it up to protect the village from unsympathetic development - it was stressed at the first Sainsburys planning meeting and there were a couple of pieces about it in local papers. DDRA seem to have ignored this who knows why! It could have helped.
    As far as size is concerned. The first application totally filled the area in the middle of Forest Road, Station Road, Station Approach and Avenue Road and the 2nd plan
    STILL totally fills this space. You can argue about a % here or there and whether it's retail space or back of house, but the fact is that Sainsburys plan to develop THE WHOLE SITE without an inch to spare to the extend - I understand - of reducing the width of the pavement in Forest Road to accommodate parking. As they have covered all angles by applying for multi-permissions for the individual units, they will be able to take thse over as well in time if they so wish, they did this at their Stratford Road store.
    The doctors should be ashamed of themselves. If their surgery isn't fit for purpose - as quo0ted by Dr Markham recently - they shoudl have done somethign about it, not waited for a supermarket to extend it for them. This shows utter contempt for their patients and that's why they don't give two hoots whether those same patients will be able to find a parking space to attend appointments.
    I used to feel Dorridge was such a close knit community and now I just feel that there are those who care about its long term future and those who just want the convenience of a superstore on the doorstep at any price. It saddens me.

  43. Poor Doctor Markham - I assure you as one of her patients that she is a very caring doctor - to imply she and the other doctors don't give 'two hoots' about their patients is the sort of thing I unfortunately expect from the anti store camp.
    What exactly do the DROVS want now - a smaller Sainsbury's and no independent units?
    I think people are forgetting it is a shopping precinct and should contain shops, it is a dilapidated brownfield site and therefore should be developed.
    Also - how much control do you expect to have over time. When I moved to Dorridge there was a post office and a bank now they are a nail studio and a restaurant bar. the drawing room is an empty unit.
    The close knit community thing - I hold DROVS responsible for their aggression those who are for the scheme.

  44. I'm sorry but I wholeheartedly disagree with the comment made at 16:49.

    A while back, members of DROVS were meeting a gentleman in Forest Court (by invitation) who I understand was writing an article in the Guardian about supermarkets in general.

    Whilst totally minding their own business, this group of people were horrendously verbally abused (totally unprovoked) by a woman who was pro store ... she started shouting that they should be "ashamed of themselves" and worse I believe.

    Please don't point fingers at groups of individuals when you are not sure that 100% of what you are saying is correct.

    Again more unashamed DROVS bashing .... unfortunately because they seem to be easy targets.

  45. 16.22 I agree with you entirely. It saddens me also.

  46. Smaller store supporter18 November 2011 at 14:32

    Thanks for the clarification on the village plan 16:22. A missed opportunity.

    I do, sadly, wonder if a large store here is inevitable despite the brave resistance. It's very odd that DDRA and our Councillor won't oppose such a large development when they normally get up in arms if someone wants to put up a garden shed or extend a drinks licence. (DDRA got shirty about a proposed extension to the airport runway a few years ago.)

    Call me a conspiracy theorist, but this all smells a funny colour to me!

  47. I was against the runway extension - I am not against Sainsbury's. The DDRA should not be against everything just for the sake of it.
    They have tried to explain their stance.
    'It smells a funny colour to me' - when are you going to come up with some facts and figures that help your cause instead of this sort of stuff.
    Perhaps the DDRA think that, on balance, it is the best option for the village - or is that too normal an explanation for you!

  48. I know, let's ensure Sainsburys walk away and then we and our kids can all enjoy quiet Saturdays and Sunday's looking at a derelict precinct

    DROVS = Dorridge Residents Observe Vacant Shops.

  49. 17.26 Yes please.

  50. It might also be

    DROVS = Don't Ruin Our Village Sainsburys

  51. Smaller store supporter21 November 2011 at 10:01

    17:26 - ideal!

    16:57 - that DDRA think this is the best option for our village is a fine.

    But what I say "smells a funny colour" is what they also think is best for us in future, that they're keeping quiet about now.

    DDRA's support of the development also implies future development of multi-storey car parking behind the garage and the proposed development of new homes to expand Knowle and Dorridge.

    I wonder if their tacit support of Solihull MBC's project to turn Dorridge into a small town is why they haven't done a village plan.

    I say "support" although I suspect it's more a case of DDRA=Don't Dare Resist Authorities.

    "This is going to happen - so don't get in the way."

    (By the way, the above is all my take on it, and nothing to do with DROVS - so don't pin these views on them.)