Thursday, 17 November 2011

Sainsbury's QC: critics "don't like large supermarkets"

RESIDENTS are opposing a Sainsbury’s plan for Dorridge because of a “simple dislike of larger supermarkets”, legal advice published by the firm says.

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

Planning barrister Martin Kingston QC said the scheme for Forest Court met national planning rules and should be approved by councillors.

The barrister, from Birmingham’s No5 Chambers, was commissioned by Sainsbury’s to assess the plan for a supermarket and seven retail units.

This was in response to a report commissioned by the Dorridge Residents Opposed to Village Superstore campaign group, also from a No5 Chambers barrister, which opposed the plan.

Mr Kingston said: “Objections appear to be more rooted in a simple dislike of larger supermarkets than anything which is specifically attributable to this proposal in Dorridge.

“Whilst one must respect the views of those who dislike major food stores and the philosophy which underlies them it is nonetheless the fact that major food stores provide the means by which the vast majority of the population achieve their household needs in a convenient, affordable, accessible and sustainable fashion.”

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council today told The Sihillian it is aiming for the scheme put to its planning committee for a decision on Wednesday November 30.

Mr Kingston said residents have to travel outside the village for their main food shop and a Sanisbury’s survey found 70 per cent want to do their main shop in Dorridge.

The same survey found the highest number of responses, 42 per cent, backed a store the size of Knowle Tesco, more than a third the size of the proposed Sainsbury’s.

Mr Kingston said: “This proposal is for a supermarket in an existing centre which is manifestly failing.”

Emphasis should be put on planning policies set by the Government and not local policies, which the DROVS reports argue reject the scheme, he said.

Mr Kingston pointed to controversial Government reforms that mean “the default answer to any development and growth proposals should be ‘yes’ unless it would compromise the key sustainable development principles set out in national planning policy”.

Councils should take a “clear and positive attitude to development proposals that would assist economic growth rather than being obstructive and putting impediments in the way of proposals” he said.

The DROVS report said the plan goes against national planning guidance PPS4, which says plans must be “consistent” with surroundings and an “appropriate scale”.

But Mr Kingston said the policy takes an “entirely positive view of proposals for retail development in centres”.

He said: “There is little, if anything, to support the view that there would be any adverse impact arising from the proposal.”

The DROVS report said a supermarket for the village was not in the council’s 2006 unitary development plan UDP, which guides what can be built in the borough.

Yet Mr Kingston said the plan “predates all current national policy” and “is clearly not based on an up to date consideration of either the need for retail development”.

The council’s core strategy, set to replace the UDP, does not fit Government policy he added, and has no “significant weight”.

Responding to a separate DROVS report which raised concerns that cars will be forced to park on streets, Mr Kingston said this could be managed by parking controls.

These would need to be approved by the council.

He said: “Comparisons of the size of the store proposed with the size of individual stores proposed in larger centres appears to me to entirely miss the point that the larger centres, for example, Solihull town centre, have not a single major supermarket to meet their needs but a range of major stores to meet their needs as well as out of centre stores.

“What is proposed in Dorridge is in effect the main foodstore for the centre.”

And he said the 2,900sqm shop floorspace is already bigger than the 1,812sqm proposed by Sainsbury’s and therefore, in theory, the scheme does not need planning permission.

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  1. We intend to issue a full response as soon as we can, but to say our objections are based on a dislike of large supermarkets shows a complete failure to grasp our arguments against this proposal.

    We have been careful throughout to focus our arguments on the facts of the submission and on planning policy, especially regarding appropriate size, traffic flow and parking provision.

  2. To above
    Your problem is that there has been a blanket 'It's too big' stance from you which obviously doesn't mean anything unless qualified - as in 'too big for what...
    For the site - well obviously it will fit on.
    Your concerns re parking and traffic flow seem to be unfounded as are the floodlit lighting to the roof, that it will attract people from miles around - no - a radius of 3 miles
    There are a vocal group who seem to think Sainsbury's has it 'in' for Dorridge
    Yes they want this size store here and I have to agree with the QC above - I want it too because it will meet my needs and that of countless other local people.
    Perhaps if you'd stuck to real issues like parking and traffic flow and tried to work to get these resolved rather than trying to use them to get rid of the Sainsbury's plan you would have more public support

  3. I have read the QC's opinion, it takes the opposite view to the QC from the same chambers who gave his opinion to DROVS. How can they both be right?
    DROVS seem to have been focusing on car parking and traffic flow in all their recent communications and pointing out that the assessments ignore the 7 other retail units and where their customers and staff are going to park. This QC says that Sainsbury's is only responsible for the parking required by their store. As it is all owned by Sainsbury's this is a strange conclusion and leaves unanswered the question of where the other users of the development are going to park? If people can't park to visit the doctors or cars are parked all over the village, the whole thing becomes a mess.
    In the Sainsbury's clarification document, they included the atrium area and even residential space in their calculation of the existing retail space. This QC has not bothered to check this information.
    I guess it only goes to show, if you pay them enough, lawyers will say anything!

  4. Smaller store supporter17 November 2011 at 14:00


    I can't speak for DROVS, but surely if you want parking and traffic flow resolved, you have to concentrate on reducing the overall lure of the development to traffic from further afield. One obvious way of doing that is to reduce the size of the store!

    As for the parking - no one can resolve parking issues - not DROVS, not DDRA - without redrawing the current plan - there is simply no room to increase the car park as it's on the roof - and Sainsbury's have ruled out letting trolleys leave the site to cross over the road.

    Short of forcing people to lug their milk and bread home on the train or bus, I can see no way of tackling the issues you suggest DROVS should have attended to without opposing the current plan. You also assume that Sainsbury's developers are interested in talking to the community. I know from personal experience that they are not.

  5. You're a bit behind things - there has been an on-going conversation re parking that includes changing the time people can spend in village locations - it has been recognised that commuters are using free parking on side roads and leaving their cars there all day.
    Understandable if it is an option but not good use of village parking. The idea is to restrict parking times on these roads which would then push the commuters into the Chiltern car-park. There have also been suggestions that an extra tier be put on the Chiltern car park.
    People using the hairdressers etc. could then park there if their trip was goiing to exceed 2 hours - which is not unreasonable.
    What I'm trying to say that there are creative ways of dealing with the issues -
    Just saying no to the store is not the only, or necessarily best option.
    I don't feel the DROVs are trying to resolve these issues - in fact the opposite. They don't want constructive ideas that show the scheme can work because they simply do not want the store full stop.

  6. Dorridge non-resident17 November 2011 at 17:38

    To 16:34 - when did it become DROVS' responsibility to resolve parking issues. The DDRA have recognised that there are issues too, but I don't recall them putting anything forward .... it should be Sainsbury's and the Council dealing with such issues full stop.

    Stop having a go at DROVS for what they are NOT doing and instead appreciate what they are trying to do (even if you don't agree).

    You are lucky to live in an area where there are people who care enough to give up their spare time to the bigger cause.

    Most people these days at just apathetic to everything going on around them.

    I would suggest that DROVS at least have a grip on what "The BIG Society" is all about. Agree or disagree ...... at least they are doing SOMETHING!!

    What are the majority of commentators on this forum doing?? Exactly how many of you have taken the time out to write to the council to either agree or object to the application?

    I'll leave that one with you .....

  7. 17.38 well said.

  8. For Mr Kingston to say what he did shows that he has not the slightest idea about the feelings and concerns of Dorridge residents.

    Many of us probably do despise what the main supermarkets have done to communities and high streets but to say that is the reason we are opposing this development is insulting.

    From reading the above article I was made to feel that it was directed at those in the decision making process, a sort of warning to "back off"! I didn't read anything that convinced me that it was appropriate for Dorridge.

  9. Local, not government, policies for local people.

    Most of Britain is covered in shops, no doubt with a view to economic growth, trouble is no one has any money to support them. So much for economic growth.

  10. Perhaps we need another QC? Clearly, they know what is best for us.

    And, to boot, they are traffic control experts too. I wonder if one of them would be prepared to tell us, specifically, what 'parking controls' would magic away the impacts of this development?

    Seriously, isn't it time to construct a simple public domain risk assessment. If traffic volumes, speed and congestion is the main concern, should we not be setting out, objectively, all the the risks, identifying the mitigating actions and contingencies in consultation with Sainsburys and SMBC before the plans are approved, not after the event?

    If you agree, Councillors, Planning Committee, Officials, DROVS, DDRA - and all those others of us who are not QCs but are quite capable of making our own judgements about these issues, then let's say so, get together and do it now!

  11. Very bored housewife.....18 November 2011 at 10:34

    agree totally with 12:09 above.
    As an economist I can't help but smile at the arguments that we have too many supermarkets on the one hand (Waitrose plans etc)and then on the other, concerns that Dorridge will be swamped by people/traffic! In reality there are only so many people and with an increase in internet shopping its quite possible that a balance will be struck. The more choices people will have about where and how to shop, the less tolerant they will become of congestion and queues - if Dorridge becomes too busy people will simple go elsewhere. As it stands the more recent proposal looks aesthetically pleasing and provides the only route for much-needed redevelopment.

  12. So do economists never sit in traffic jams, looking for a parking space?

    Or are they the ones, acting rationally, who we can see dashing to the alternative shopping centre 3 miles away, confident, by all that is right, statistically, they will find an abundance of car parking spaces?

    - cue bored social psychologist, stage left

    Either Sainsburys and Waitrose stores and operating regimes are appropriate for the community or they are not. If there is a substantial risk of excessive traffic, something is wrong. Either the store is attracting too many people from out-of-area or too high a proportion of customers are using cars, rather than walking or using public transport (or internet buying, in which case, no store is needed). We need to address this issue now, identify mitigating actions while there are still design options and to identify contingency actions. I would hope that any economist would agree, any unaddresssed risks, if realized, will be much more expensive to deal with after the scheme is set in concrete.

    I don't know anyone who is trying to stop this development. So far as I am concerned, I just want it to be the best, most appropriate and sustainable solution for Dorridge, improving our environment, not degrading it.

  13. Hello Very bored housewife, and welcome to the discussion. You make some interesting points.

    As an economist, perhaps you can also shed some light on:

    a)the effect a Sainsbury's more than 3 times the size of Tesco Knowle will have on independent retaillers in Knowle, Dorridge and Bentley Heath.

    b) whether the King-sized Sainsbury's will increase or decrease the amount of money and jobs in the local economy - i.e. with local food suppliers for example

    c) whether mushrooming market share for the Big 4 Supermarkets will lead to increasing or decreasing choice and prices in future

    d) whether large stores like this are sustainable as we move towards becoming a modern digital economy?


  14. Matthew,
    Couldn't you have squeezed in the 27 sq mile catchment into your questions somewhere too!!! Missed a trick there!

    Dear 'Very Bored Housewife', I like your points and wondered if you could could explain how the DROVs sized solution would affect points A & b likewise?

    Can't really see what points C & D have to do with the redevelopment of Forest Court or is Matthew just looking out for Sainsburys' future?
    Is the worm turning?

  15. Point c) suggests that once these supermarkets have saturated the land, they'll effectively be operating a cartel, holding both suppliers and customers to ransom

    Point d) suggests that a smaller store would be a good idea - a great big aircraft hangar such as Sainsbury's is proposing could well become a White Elephants in the not too distant future - or distribution centres for increasing amounts of internet shopping. It's not as though you can turn it into a solarium or nail bar, or whatever happens to be en vogue in 2020.

    Anyway, economists are much like QCs - they'll take either side of the argument for enough money.


  16. Is any of this likely to happen in our lifetime Matthew I wonder??

    Do you think Sainsburys haven't considered point C before they invested many millions into Forest Court. Be a bit short sighted if they hadn't don't you think?

    Aircraft hanger just can't resist can you!! Brilliantly inflamatory really does you no favours.

    Love the consipiracy theory too, does that imply that the DROVS QC was 'bought' too!!
    Shot to the foot if not careful!

  17. Of course Sainsbury's have thought of point C why else would they want to build in Dorridge.

    Its a race between the Big 4 to colonise as much of Britain as possible to the detriment of smaller independent retailers and the ultimate demise of our freedom to choose where we shop.

    I make no apologies for sounding emotional, some things are worth fighting for.

  18. Thanks 19:34...of course Sainsbury's have thought of point C - this store is designed not to retain trade in Dorridge and Knowle as they would have us believe, but to attract trade away from the huge Tesco at the end of Gate Lane (c. 10 minutes drive).

    Wherever they can take market share away from a competitor they will aggressively do so. That's why the store needs to be so big - with potential to expand in future if trade is not brisk in the accompanying retail units.

    Good for Sainsbury's. Less so for Dorridge. Or am I mistaken?


  19. Well said 20.09

  20. Good for Dorridge methinks!

  21. I think both QCs opinions are rubbish.
    I don't think you can say that the DROVS are opposed to Sainsbury's per se because they would like a Sainsbury's store - weirdly they seem to think they know the exact ideal size but that is a different matter.
    As for the DROVS QC just a lot of puff about interpretation of planning policy.
    QCs have no interest in looking at the development and its pros and cons in this setting.
    If DROVS are focused on parking and traffic flow issues why are they releasing ridiculous statements about the store being 48% bigger than the original proposed. The truth is they are just playing with figures and making things up - floodlighting to roof is another good example - to frighten people.

  22. Very early on in this process it was clear that planning guidance was not a lot of help in determining what was appropriate - it was not clear to me how guidance would allow someone to say that a 1200sqm store was within policy and an 1800sqm was not. The telling thing in the Sainsbury's QC opinion is that when it came to the car parking, they had to fall back on the big hole in policy that means that SMBC cannot make Sainsbury's provide more parking than they want to provide.

    SMBC committee are not entirely bound by guidance (it is guidance, not law), but you have to give them some ammunition to work with. The traffic professionals which DROVS and DDRA used both concluded that there was not a case to be made on traffic levels, the road system has the capacity to support the store. That is not to say that there wouldn't be a noticeable increase in traffic, but the committee would need convincing evidence that the traffic increase would be unacceptable. I couldn't find numbers that supported that, aside from the change to Sundays.

    The most important part of the QC opinion is the fact that he is saying that the Government policy announcement already carries significant weight - which makes a lot of the previous QC opinion nonsensical, as it was mainly a discussion about PPS4 which is to be deleted entirely - and then we are dependent on SMBC having perfect planning policy otherwise the answer is to be Yes to any development.

    The real problem here is that in raising the stakes with all the legal threats, the committee will be very nervous and will feel that they can only take a decision based on evidence. The only hard evidence they have is the numbers in Sainsbury's submission. Without evidence to back up objections, the committee will be obliged to go with the Sainsbury's side.

    So objectors only have a couple of weeks to have a think about how they convert "It's too big" into a proper case - the Sainsbury's QC was giving a big hint there - "I don't like it" is not grounds for SMBC to reject - SMBC need solid facts to work with.

    Sainsbury's answered DROVS queries on problems with the application form back in April, yet these issues were still being laboured on in October, and to me it seems pointless to be spending any time trying to convert those who support or are apathetic about the application, and instead the effort should be in coming up with hard numbers that prove that the scheme cannot work. If the numbers aren't there (and it is only the car parking where the numbers really are suspect, and SMBC are being told by a QC that they can't use policy to reject it on that basis, and they have had issues with this continually e.g. the Wharf Lane development where they could not impose adequate parking) then SMBC aren't going to be able to reject it without feeling that they are taking a massive gamble, as they must look over their shoulders as to how the Planning Inspectorate would evaluate the decision.

  23. Oh I see, you support Sainsbury's QC but not DROVS. Interesting.

  24. To above - did you not read what Ian Spencer said!!??!! He is explaining how you - the antis - must make your case if you are to succeed.
    I'm with previous contributer - the QC opinions are both unhelpful - except in highlighting what the planners will have to take into consideration.
    Contributors like the above seem to want to personalise the whole thing which doesn't do anything to help their cause. The DDRA are doing a good job. I am for the scheme and would rather they were completely behind it but recognise that their measured approach is appropriate.

  25. Today's Food Programme on Radio 4 made some interesting points on how the big supermarkets are damaging our relationship with the food we eat.

    The programe featured former Sainsbury's ambassador Jamie Oliver who made some interesting points about obesity, sustainability and choice. There was also a contribution from Mark Bittman (sp?) the chef behind the People's Supermarket concept (as featured on Channel Four earlier this year.)

    Regardless of the legal arguments, this programme showed that anyone who cares about what we eat - and what our children will eat has a moral imperative to influence the future direction of the Big 4 supermarkets.

    The link is here - available to listen again until next Sunday... Would be interesting to hear what some of the "Sainsbury's Suits Me" brigade have to say about this.

  26. I'm not fond at all of supermarkets, I have my copy of Tescopoly on my bookshelf, but I don't feel I can direct the DDRA based on my personal prejudices. The reality is that however much we may moan about them, the nation has voted with their feet and use supermarkets, and the majority of local people use them in preference to other forms of shopping.

    I had a long conversation with some ex-shopkeepers in Dorridge who were very clear on who was responsible for the failure of the Dorridge centre - the Dorridge people who decided it was better to go elsewhere than shop in Forest Court - and that was not 2 years ago when Sainsbury's arrived, but 10 to 15 years ago, when the bread shop couldn't sustain itself any more, and the Spar didn't have enough turnover to be stocked properly.

    I think it is that last point that persuaded me that a battle against supermarkets was kidology - what people say and what people do are two different things, and as a nation Britain love to hate their supermarkets, while shopping in them in their drov(e)s ;)

    Oh, and I was at the first meeting. It is strange how people's memory differs; yes, the lady with the model did make quite a difference to the meeting, which was a bit lacking in inspiration. She is well known to me, and is certainly neither an employee or a plant, though she had worked for a supermarket some years ago. She turned the meeting around into a constructive discussion, and that led to the Sainsbury's architect rethinking the scheme. She had phoned me the night before to say that she had made a model and should she bring it along - and I encouraged her to - any input would be good. Previously, he had been locked into the principle that the first scheme was the only way forward, but it was that discussion that led to the idea of there being a focus on the centre, submerging the store and creating the more interesting units. So the current scheme was born out of local people's ideas. The Sainsbury's team suggested to me that it was something of a battle within Sainsbury's to allow them to change the scheme in tthat way.

    I wasn't at the second meeting which I got the feedback that it wasn't so well run, but I can also assure you that DROVS were invited (though there was the odd gatecrasher too!). For sure, Sainsbury's have a PR system, and are obviously corporate, and it is easy to be cynical about their motives, but as far as I can see, they have always acted honestly and openly. I don't think that all their work is right, but the information has been displayed publicly for everyone to see, warts and all.

  27. As an ex Dorridge resident (24 years) with very fond memories of the place I have been watching this debate with great interest.
    I would like to share this information with you.

    Where I live I have to travel 30 minutes (at 80k)to my nearest shop of any description. It is in a small town with catchment population (i.e. town and surrounding rural population)
    similar to Dorridge. We used to have the usual variety of independent greengrocers, bakers butchers, fishmongers etc and several very small supermarkets plus all the farm support stores, two banks, library, post office, police station etc. all set on the main street
    We also have one high school and three primary schools!(all in different parts of town, easy for children to walk to and not on the main street so away from busy traffic)) plus every rural district has a primary school. Rural high school children travel in by school bus.
    A few years ago the largest supermarket was sold to one of our big national companies and subsequently demolished and rebuilt, needless to say a much, much bigger store. Not an attractive building (typical box)but set back behind the main street shops so as not to destroy the Edwardian streetscape.
    The other smaller supermarkets disappeared and with them most of the food related independent retailers.

    The town is now known for its huge array of secondhand and charity shops which took over when the others failed to thrive plus we no longer have a separate post office but now have a kiosk in the local bookshop/cheap toys stationary etc. They used to have a good array of greetings cards but the supermarket sells those now as well!! (along with roses, trees etc!)
    When the other shops disappeared so did the competition. Everything was fine for a while, quality good, prices on a par but it didn't last it didn't have to, it was a captive market, the next supermarket being another 45 minutes drive away. At least in Dorridge you are only a few minutes away from any number of shops.

    However, recently an individual seeing the issue set up a small store selling produce from local growers and the response has been huge. The quality is far superior, and is cheaper. The fresh produce in the supermarket continues to deteriorate in quality and is becoming more expensive (than other towns)to make up for the obvious downturn in sales. This has given others confidence and we are now seeing more independent retailers coming back, plus we also now have a weekly farmers market. The supermarket bakery, fresh produce and now pretty much non existent fish counter are getting smaller and packaged goods are taking up more of the store space.
    Because of the higher prices many of us now do large stock up shops in the main centres (same company, different prices) and use the local supermarket for convenience.

    Our supermarket is manned pretty much by locals so is a friendly place to be but it did change our town, however, with peoples interest in cooking with quality fresh produce and recognising how much specialist retailers have to offer by why of quality and knowledge (many of our tv programmes promote the use of local growers etc.) the balance is starting to correct itself and in a way the town is slowly reverting to how it used to be. Along with this is a renewed vitality in the main street which had become very dead when the smaller shops closed we now have people hunting out the specialist shops and have a collection of cafes to go with them.

    From our experience one very large supermarket is not the answer for a thriving community but a supermarket which allows for specialist shops to run side by side is. A trip to town is now much more fun and we are all meeting up more and therefore supporting the cafes etc.

    I visit Dorridge from time to time and even with Forest Court the way it is, it is still a great place and I hope that whatever is built is sympathetic to the character of the village and its people.

  28. 20:11 well said!

  29. Smaller store supporter21 November 2011 at 10:22

    Ian - whilst I admire the honesty in your post above, I must take issue with your point that Sainsbury's have displayed the information "warts and all".

    They have, in fact, displayed the store through some top-notch copywriting, artistry and graphic design. (They have had to have key figures flushed out by DROVS - hardly straight with us about overall development size.)

    If they were so keen to display this large store as it will appear warts and all, they'd openly publish the 3D models their architects will doubtless have built.

    Being able to view a virtual model of the store from viewpoints that haven't been carefully selected would reveal a lot more of the warts, I bet - like the huge brick wall running along Avenue Road and the car park looming over its surroundings.

    So - will Sainsbury's release the 3D plans? I very much doubt it!

  30. SSS, I don't really like debating the detail of the plan here because it can come across as trying to put my opinion over when I am trying to stay back.

    I'd suggest looking at the couple of cross sections - the plans have been revised for details so it is worth another look at the SMBC site (ref 2011/1107) - and also in the Design Statement where there is a 3D view of the Avenue Road angle. I'm guessing that you might have meant the wall along Forest Road, which has an earth bank and planting in the scheme.

    From the Committee point of view, with regard to Forest Road, they'd probably be persuaded that the landscaped arrangement is significantly better than it is at the moment, but would want to be convinced that the screening of headlights was properly done. I'd tend to agree that it is difficult to get a good feel for the view from Avenue Road from the plans, but if there is an issue it is the effect of the raised car park rather than any brick wall.

    When they had the 3D model on display it was something I had a look at because the first scheme was particularly weak - a large brick wall with no relief on Forest Road and a warehouse rear with little thought given to its appearance. This time around, the doctors' surgery serves to screen the view, and of course, the car park hides the store, so to me the backdrop appears to be the units around the store.

    Have you asked Sainsbury's to provide such a view (or asked the planners to request such a view)? If you think there is a serious point to be made that the committee would overlook without those views then you should immediately contact the Council. (I tend to worry less about it because the planners and committee tend to be more comfortable about interpreting plans). In discussions in the past, the planners are reluctant to work from 3D models as the choice of perspective can have a significant effect on the impression given.

  31. I have to agree with the sentiment that people say one thing and do another.
    Why did the French Stick have to close - not enough local support. Personally I don't have the money to be buying rustic loaves at inflated prices so would not use an artisan bakery but those who claim to want such shops often use them rarely - buying 6 bread rolls per week won't keep such shops going. The green-grocer failed for the same reason - lack of local support.
    How often does anyone shop like my mother did in the 50s going from butcher to baker to greengrocer. And she found it a pain then lumping 2 kids with her round the town.
    Much as people love to hate supermarkets they use them. This will be used by local people and the improvements to Station Approach etc will be very welcome.
    The 3D thing - can be misleading as pointed out above - eglook down on the model and it will seem to be all car-park so only of limited use

  32. Your sentiments may be correct for some but I think you will find if Waitrose goes ahead that's where many locals will shop, not Sainsbury's which from what I have heard is not really that popular. Feeling tends to be that once in the car Knowle is so close they might as well shop there and that's from people that live very close to the new proposal who will still need to use their cars to cart home more than a few items.

    In answer to your comment whilst I use supermarkets for dry goods all my fresh produce comes from independent retailers and farmers/ WI markets.

  33. 13:40 - 20th Century thinking. We're starting to see retila changing, thanks to the internet. Super-sized supermarkets are really not necessary. No one in their right mind would wnat to go to the old Forest Court, but a new set of well-planned independents would have been ideal for Dorridge.

    If you can keep the large stores at bay, there's plenty of scope for new innovative shops who know their onions, who care about what people wnat and who are innovative enought to make home delivery or extended opening hours work.

    Sadly, we shall never see that sort of thing thriving here.

    19:50 See you in Waitrose. I'm more than happy to boycott this over-sized Sainsbury's, which I expect is a done-deal.

  34. Perhaps you are right about Waitrose - some idea that the goods at Waitrose are better quality - but my experience is that their ready meals are no better than anyone elses and the fish counter at Hall green limited and expensive.
    Heinz baked beans are the same anywhere.
    However, as the Waitrose proposed is quite small it won't have the range that Sainsbury's will and often large packs eg 12 tins of dog food are not available from this size store and buying the smaller versions is more expensive before you even start. There will be people who go to Waitrose but if you want to do a solid shop for a family Sainsbury's will win out. The offers for families are good - virtually non existent at Waitrose.

  35. to 13.40 above. from above the 3d model looks like all car park - that's because it is!!

  36. All car park on top with store beneath. Some people have been foiled by the drawing that the visible buildings are the store and the rest is the car park, at ground level.

    Still, the planning committee won't be duped. They will know that this development us just 1% smaller than last time.

    Deja vu!