Tuesday, 6 December 2011

DROVS: council "ignored" own guidance on Sainsbury's

A GROUP which fought against a Sainsbury's plan for Dorridge says councillors "ignored" their own policies to approve the scheme.

Dorridge - Aerial - FINAL



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In it's first official statement since the pan was approved last week, Dorridge Residents Opposed to Village Superstore said it also had "grave concerns" about the propsoed 175 parking spaces.

The group argued plan should have been refused because Solihull Metopolitan Borough Council's core strategy planning policy only backed a smaller supermarket for Knowle.

It said: “We are disappointed that planning policy was largely ignored.”

It also said the fact the entire development was one per cent smaller than one rejected by the council in March last year “was not recognised by the planners or the councillors”.

Some councillors said at last Thursday's meeting that Sainsbury's could appeal to the The Planning Inspectorate if the plan was refused. If the council then lost, it could have to pay the firm's costs.

The DROVS statement said: “There seemed to be more concern about the costs of an appeal process than in getting the size right for Dorridge.”

It added: “One of our biggest fears from the beginning was the consequence of increased traffic levels through our residential roads, especially those packed with school children and we still have grave concerns about the spread of parking causing major inconvenience to residents.”

The group said it was “surprised” Sainsbury's did not submit a travel plan on how it will manage the increase in vehicles. It will have to provide a plan as a condition of being given planning permission by the council.

The statement said: “We hope that DROVS has managed to bring some of the key issues to the public's attention and, in so doing, encouraged a more informed debate about the issues.”

It also said the Dorridge and District Residents Association, which backed the plan, “failed completely” to create an "informed debate". Some criticised the asssociation for not organising a public meeting on the scheme.

The statement said: “We thank our supporters for their efforts so far.

“We now urge the councillors and the planning committee to focus on these issues at the next stage of the process.

“Measures need to be put in place before the construction starts and the situation must be monitored going forward with Sainsbury's paying for the work needed.

“The construction is going to cause tremendous noise and heavy goods traffic and its impact needs to be controlled as well as the on-going operations once the development is open.

“DROVS will be looking to work with our councillors and the planning department to make sure this takes place and that our children are protected as much as possible and that inconvenience from the spread of car parking is minimised.”

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10 comments:

  1. Full DROVS statement:

    DROVS is disappointed with the conditional approval of the Sainsbury's development.

    DROVS never believed that the store needed to be more than three times the size of Tesco in Knowle to meet the needs of Dorridge. We are disappointed that planning policy was largely ignored and that the reduction in the retail space compared to the previous application of under 1 per cent was not recognised by the planners or the councillors. There seemed to be more concern about the costs of an appeal process than in getting the size right for Dorridge.

    We hope that DROVS has managed to bring some of the key issues to the public's attention and, in so doing, encouraged a more informed debate about the issues. We regret that the existing residents’ association, DDRA, failed completely in this role.

    One of our biggest fears from the beginning was the consequence of increased traffic levels through our residential roads, especially those packed with school children and we still have grave concerns about the spread of parking causing major inconvenience to residents. It’s surprising that Sainsbury’s submitted their application without a traffic plan in place to address these major problems.

    We thank our supporters for their efforts so far. We now urge the councillors and the planning committee to focus on these issues at the next stage of the process. Measures need to be put in place before the construction starts and the situation must be monitored going forward with Sainsbury's paying for the work needed. The construction is going to cause tremendous noise and heavy goods traffic and its impact needs to be controlled as well as the on-going operations once the development is open.

    DROVS will be looking to work with our councillors and the planning department to make sure this takes place and that our children are protected as much as possible and that inconvenience from the spread of car parking is minimised.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well done DROVS - keep up the good work.

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  3. The reason they ignored their own guidance is because it is contradicted by national planning laws which of course take precedent.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was never a supporter of DROVS and am in favour of the development, nevertheless we should thank those who volunteer to help make this a better place to live, especially when they do so constructively.

    Not all decisions go the way we want, but at least you tried.

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  5. Personally, I feel that DROVS did a real service for local democracy. In many ways, DROVS took on the role and acted as the Official Opposition, which is an uncomfortable position to take.

    It is, perhaps, a pity that this level of vigorous scrutiny and challenge and the evident divisions in our community was not reflected in a similarly vigorous and public political debate by our elected representatives in Solihull Council.

    There was no effective consensus-building process - we need to find one.

    I hope that few could fail to agree including, I would hope, Sainsburys, as a result of DROVS initiative and the willingness of many others in our community to join the debate, that we now have a better plan than would otherwise be the case.

    There are still some substantial, some would say central, issues to resolve before this plan is signed off by the Planning Committee.

    I sincerely hope that SMBC and Sainsburys will not treat the development of the Travel Plan as a technical or legal formality.

    I am hopeful that Sainsburys and SMBC will take the opportunity to help explore and to establish better, non-adversarial ways to have a positive and constructive conversation with residents about issues, which affect all of us, such as traffic, parking and pedestrian safety.

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  6. I thought that after the decision was made, the incessant bleating by the DROVS would be over but alas no. Find something else to have a moan about, you've lost and common sense has prevailed. Time to move on....

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  7. No Chris, DROVS took one very clear position in opposition and maintained it throughout. Many others lobbied individually and DDRA took a different position. This does not make them bad and DROVS good. Why do we insist on glorifying DROVS as some form of noble liberation army. Many many more, myself included, were vocal without being strident and are actually quite comfortable with the changes that evolved from everyone's input and the final outcome. As 13:37 says so eloquently, "Time to move on ..... "

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  8. 13.37 18.33

    I totally agree with Chris. An excellent post.
    DROVS was set up by motivated individuals to oppose the proposal but DDRA should have remained impartial as their role is to represent all members of the community and in this situation they clearly did not.

    I feel the decision was made under fear of costs
    if it went to appeal.
    What is the point of having local councillors as representatives if all they are allowed to do is implement national policies regardless of the effect on local communities?

    How many of the decision makers actually lived in Dorridge?

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  9. To above - enough already.
    I'm sure DROV members DDRA members and coucillors did what they thought was appropriate.
    Raking over the coals is not helpful.
    Its over.
    Lets move on.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Time to fight to make sure conformance to what is passed and give it a rest DROVS.

    ReplyDelete