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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