Friday, 9 December 2011

Sainsbury's decision damages case for Waitrose, Knowle Society says

THE Knowle Society has officially objected to a revised Waitrose plan for the village, saying last week’s approval of a Sainsbury’s store for Dorridge threatens its prospects.

Artists impression (new)

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The conservation group also raised concerns about road safety and the level of parking the plan would create.

Kimberley Developments has proposed putting a store on a former bowling green off the Red Lion car park in St John’s Close.

A scheme to put the store on the site of the village hall, which would be re-provided on the bowling green, was withdrawn last year.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee – which will decide the Waitrose plan – last Thursday approved a Sainsbury’s plan for Forest Court, Dorridge.

Yet the society said: “In light of the approval of the Sainsbury store in Dorridge we have real concerns that the retail offering in Knowle could be adversely affected due to the counter attraction of such a large store close by.

“In its potential impact on Knowle it can be compared to an ‘out-of-town’ supermarket, especially as its parking provision will, we are assured, be better than the congested parking in Knowle.”

In its official response to the council, the society said a “modest sized” store would “help to maintain Knowle as a local centre with its flourishing retail provision”.

But it said it had “significant concerns about this particular application”.

While Kimberley heralded a 24 per cent reduction in the overall size of the store, the society pointed out the 1,251sqm sales area from the last scheme had only been cut by seven per cent.

In its plan, Sainsbury’s said the sales area is the key figure as this drives demand for the store. The Knowle Tesco sales area is 557sqm.

And the letter, from society planning committee chairman Leighton Jones, re-iterated concerns over parking already submitted to the council.

It said: “The proposed provision is totally inadequate.

“I am particularly concerned that the statement made by Kimberley claiming an increase of 93 spaces is incorrect as it does not take into account the complete situation.

“If we are to benefit from a new foodstore, the parking situation needs to be greatly improved.”

He last month warned “grid-lock would be inevitable for much of the day” as overall parking to the west of the High Street would only increase from 264 to 305.

Waitrose has proposed 25 more spaces next to the 22-space Lodge Croft car park, off Lodge Road, near the junction with Station Road, currently garages and unused ground.

A further 15 parking spaces would be cut into the verge where Lodge Road leads into St John’s Close.

But Mr Jones’s latest letter says on-street parking would be “very hazardous” as spaces would be at a right angle, presenting safety risks when loading shopping.

And he said the loss of the access from St John’s Close directly to the Red Lion car park means users will have to use a “hazardous” access via the High Street.

He also raised concerns about visibility at the St John’s Close junctions with Lodge Road and Station Road.

And Mr Jones took issue with Kimberley’s argument that few extra cars would go into the village as there is already a high level of traffic for visits to shops.

He said: “If they switch to using the proposed store they would be focussed on St John’s Close, with obvious impacts.

“They cannot have it both ways, saying that the store will prevent trips away from Knowle yet saying that they will have no or little local impact.”

Kimberley’s statement that “Dorridge Station is an easy walk” is “plainly made by someone not having walked it” he added.

Mr Jones said: “It would be totally unrealistic to expect people to walk this with any significant amount of shopping.”

The planning application also says “nothing” about lighting, he added, and said the size and design of the brick store is “not sympathetic” to the area.

The council will make a decision on the store early next year.

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  1. Traffic from Dorridge and Lapworth will increase as I know of many who are planning to shop at Waitrose should it go ahead, some of these are people who do not currently do their grocery shop in Knowle and have no interest in shopping at a Sainsbury's store.

  2. I live in Knowle, and am afraid to say that the Knowle Society are wrong again. Once they objected to Costa Coffee, which brought jobs and additional footfall to the village, I realised just how out of touch they are.

    Is there actually anything this 'society' would approve of?

    I do agree that parking is a real concern and must be addressed, but times are changing. Knowle is almost a small town now. If Waitrose comes here, it will mean instead of me driving to Tesco monkspath or waitrose in Hall Green, I will actually be able to supermarket shop within Knowle, a weekly shop that will still be supplemented by items from local stores like the french baker.

    In the current economic climate, the council/planning committee have a duty to approve job creating proposals such as this. Whilst I won't like a bit of extra traffic, its a price worth paying.

    My final point, is that the small Knowle Tesco is almost a local monopoly given it is the only small supermarket in Knowle. My strong feeling is that if anything is to get hit by increased competition, it will be the Tesco metro, not the small shops with unique propositions.

  3. You won't need to drive to Monkspath or Hall Green you will be able to shop in Dorridge!!

  4. Seems sensible to look at traffic and parking issues - but Knowle society just says no to everything so hard to take them seriously.

  5. Maybe its because of the Knowle Society that you still have a town to be proud of.

    Personally, I find a town with too many franchised businesses (costa, starbucks, etc.,) becomes rather dull and predictable. I would much rather have an independently owned and well run cafe with a distinctive style in both food and coffee etc. I had no objection to another cafe in Knowle but am very disappointed its Costa.
    Small towns need to retain their character and individuality without which there is nothing to encourage others to shop there or visit.

  6. @ 20:26 above,

    perhas you wanted yet another charity shop for Knowle, as they really add character don't they...

  7. Bob and Susan James11 December 2011 at 13:56

    It seems to us that 3 of the above comments are from the same person. It is a great pity that The Silhillian allows anonymous entries; it is possible to add a name but few bother. If someone wants to express a view they should be prepared to put their name to it, otherwise it has little value or relevance. This is why we always put our name to any entries.

    As regards the Waitrose/Kimberley proposal the store is too large (and will therefore attract a lot of people, many from outside Knowle) and the parking provision is entirely inadequate. I advise all those who say they are in favour of this scheme to walk around Knowle and count all the spaces where people currently park, then compare that to the plans. They will see that 15 cars can currently park on the road near the Village Hall and that 22 spaces are being removed from the Red Lion car park; neither of these figures are taken into consideration by the proposers. They are simply gilding their case, to the detriment of Knowle. Shame on them.

    We are not against Waitrose (or any other store), just opposed to the size of the scheme as being far too large for Knowle to accommodate.

  8. Bob and Susan, the settings for this site can be changed to allow only registered users to leave a comment but my experience of this on newspaper websites is those who do not want to leave their name sign up as "Fred Flintstone" and the like. There is no way of making people give their name, it's ultimately up to the reader. To remove this setting might see fewer people give their views. Those with a Google account can sign in and leave comments, for example as Ian Spencer has, and that is a good way of confirming your identity.

  9. Why are so many supermarkets and large ones at that needed in such a relatviely small area? It is said that they bring jobs but in reality they simply swap jobs between supermarkets. There is not even much in it price wise as they all usem diffeent loss leaders to get customers in.

    Why spoil Knowle and turn it is a glorified car park for the sake of avoidng a short drive to one of a dozen supermarkets virtually on our doorstep?

    I was not oppopsed to Costas, but the Knowle Society is spot on in its policy on Waitrose and should be supported, especially in view of the excellaent analysis on parking/traffic issues.

  10. I quite enjoy reading anonymous comments, the information becomes the main focus rather than the individual writing it. Some of the anonymous comments, whether I agree or not, are excellent and often short and to the point and sometimes quite thought provoking.
    I really don't think it matters who makes the point as long as it is worth reading.

  11. This really is very sad. Yes I can and will shop at Sainsburys in Dorridge like every one else. Knowle, my home village will die. I am very uncomfiortable that the Knowle Society criticise 90 degree parking on St John Close when there is 90 degree parking on the opposite side of the road! Have they really not even walked up that road? Yep the too large thing has been said over and over again despite the fact that people would like to get their weekly shopping at a single store. And they can now in Dorridge. We will now get the traffic but not the trade. I look forward to more charity shops. Thanks guys.

  12. Bob and Susan. Do you enjoy shopping at Tesco? Why do you think you have the right to determine how how working people should spend their money? But mainly, do you shop in Knowle? Or just think that everyone else should be forced to ship in shops of a size that you consider acceptable?

  13. I would have thought Knowle had a pretty good choice of fresh produce so if it is only a wider choice of frozen or dried packaged goods that are lacking surely it is not too much to ask for people to buy elsewhere occasionally and stock up. Sainsbury's won't be very far away.

    Strikes me when so many people in the world are
    either starving, incredibly poor or live in war torn areas we really have nothing to worry about and this obsession with having everything when and where we want it is really quite sad.

  14. 14/12 22:27

    Here, here!

  15. I find the reaction of the Knowle Society very depressing but somewhat predictable. Without a reason to shop in Knowle, the far better provision offered by Sainsbury’s in Dorridge will condemn Knowle centre to obscurity.
    I also cannot understand the comments about parking.
    • The comments about 90 degree parking in St Johns Close show that the Know Society haven’t even checked the layout of the road. On the other side of the road there is already 90 degree parking with no issue.
    • Surely people will park as normal to attend the Red Lion? There is no need to turn in from the Warwick Road?
    We can only hope that the Council takes as much notice of the Knowle Society in their decision over Waitrose as they did around their complaints about Sainsburys in Dorridge.

  16. Bob and Susan James15 December 2011 at 17:32

    To Rob and Peter Barret we ask where is the 90 degree parking they refer to? Also, if the scheme goes ahead then the only entrance and exit to the Red Lion car park will be off the Warwick Road.

    To Anonymous of 14 December 2011 21:24 we say yes we do shop in Knowle and enjoy shopping in the Village we live in. You have asked us why we think we have the right to determine how working people should spend their money - we don't know what inspired you to write that, but plainly it is not related in the slightest to anything we wrote. It is unfortunate that you have not chosen to give your name - is it because you are not so certain of your comments?

  17. Supermarket Sweepover16 December 2011 at 10:14

    "Strikes me when so many people in the world are
    either starving, incredibly poor or live in war torn areas we really have nothing to worry about and this obsession with having everything when and where we want it is really quite sad."

    Yes, yes, and treble yes!

    This is exactly how I feel about the depressing YISMs (Yes It Suits Me) sticking up for poor old Sainsbury's in Dorridge.

    Corporate whores - and that includes the Doctors.

    I wonder if they've all had a Christmas card personally signed by Justin King

  18. Dorridge Resident16 December 2011 at 13:27

    I haven't seen much comment about this, but the thing that concerns me about the Waitrose proposal is that by positioning the store close to Station Road, it means that parts of the High Street are quite far away and the access would damage it, while Tescos, with its good access to the High Street, complements it (also by not being that a good store so it does not dominate). While the Lyon's end might be ok, the Solihull end s already weak, and it would reduce footfall there even further, and discourage going to the shops down the alley ways on the other side of the High Street.

    So, with Waitrose plan B, you get parking problems, nothing you can point to specifically that makes Knowle better and you risk the High Street. I think that there are big differences with Dorridge and Knowle, mainly because there is not a thriving centre already existing in Dorridge.

    I'd have thought for Waitrose to be a sensible prospect for Knowle, there needs to be some benefit for Knowle aside from having a Waitrose, and I can't see what that is.

  19. Perhaps Dorridge resident is more concerned that Waitrose will draw shoppers away from Sainsbury's and other Dorridge businesses.

  20. Hi Bob and Susan. If you walk up St Johns Close to where Waitrose want to put 90 degree parking, if you look at the other side of the road you will see 90 degree parking!
    Or am I mad?

  21. For Dorridge residents, I can appreciate a desire for something other than the empty Forest Court. Knowle High St is a thriving area and I doubt that anyone will desert it for Dorridge even when Sainsburys opens. Why give up an interesting high st for hours in a traffic jam and waiting to get into/out of a car car park which is what will become of Dorridge? The angle of the car parking is a red herring as the area is virtually deadlocked now without the Waitrose traffic and delivery vehicles.
    Really cannot see this fixation with having a supermarket on every corner!

  22. I really don't have a strong view either way.

    If I had carte blanche, I would probably replace the existing Tesco with Waitrose!

    Funnily enough I doubt this will damage Knowle high street though, it's a very different proposition to Sainsburys, and as anybody who shops in the Hall Green branch will know, it's very very expensive, so won't do the normal trick of damaging small retailers on price alone.

    I guess I don't see the fixation with local residents opposing absolutely everything. If it creates jobs (net jobs that is), then in the current climate I would imagine it will get approved. Anybody who knows anything about planning laws, especially in a deep jobs recession, will know you need a water tight case to prevent/reject something that will create jobs for young people.

    Unfotunately, it does almost seem that only supermarkets are creating any employment these days.

  23. Bob and Susan James21 December 2011 at 14:00

    Hi Rob, you mean that very short cul-de-sac with no passing traffic? Not at all like a busy road with shoppers, children, trolleys and two-way traffic is it! This will be a disaster waiting to happen.

  24. oh no, does no one understnd there is no funding to support redevelopent for Knowle. This is the only option to sort out the dire sitution in the centre. Its better then doing nothing!

  25. Dorridge Resident3 January 2012 at 17:10

    What are the problems in Knowle that need sorting out? It seems to me that there is one fundamental issue and that is access. I don't see how the current proposals sort that out.

    The other issue is the constrained size of Knowle Tesco, (which they have made a couple of attempts at expanding). If the rumours of the Post Office being up for grabs are true, and I've never quite understood where they came from, then Tesco could be expanded, but I would assume that they would also want to do something to improve access to make it worthwhile investing.

    The easiest improvement you could make to Knowle would be to restrict the parking time in the car park between the school and the High Street so during the week it wasn't blocked with long term parking. Of course you'd need to put long term parkers somewhere, for example, the football club rents out space during the week.

    Knowle needs a tidy up, but there is nothing that requires a project that doesn't address the needs of Knowle. I'd suggest this scheme is worse than doing nothing.

  26. Dear Sir
    Your Knowle Readers may be interested in the a Newsletter I have seen from the Knowle Conservatives reporting the results of their Waitrose Survey

    Knowle Conservatives have published their Survey Results

    Overall Impression
    63% of respondents opposed the proposals
    While 35% support them
    2% were unsure
    65% believed they would have a negative impact on the village
    31% thought they were about right
    Parking and Traffic
    62% of residents the thought expected increase in traffic and parking arrangements
    were unsatisfactory.28% thought them about right and10% were unsure.
    Delivery Arrangements.
    49% felt the new delivery arrangements were unsatisfactory.39% they were about right.
    57% felt it was to big.Nearly 28% thought it was ‘about right’ or ‘too small’

    A majority of residents are not supportive of the present plans.
    Parking and Traffic are major concerns.
    A minority are in favour.

    Other comments made were that more choice is needed and a smaller store would be acceptable.
    CD Collier Solihull

  27. Well, that's clear enough; a complete reversal of Waitrose's own survey results of June 2011. Knowle residents must not allow themselves to be bullied and hoodwinked by the likes of Waitrose.

  28. Now that the Knowle Conservatives have waded into the discussion would they like to actually declare their 'sample' of Knowle residents before jumping to conclusions such as 02:32 has done.

    Sainsbury's presents a straight forward challenge to the shops of Knowle. We now know that Sainsbury's will happen, so Knowle has to propose a suitable alternative. Why would anyone drive or walk to Dorridge pick up their weekly shop then go to Knowle for their meat/loaf of bread. It just wont happen. Waitrose however will offer superior quality than Sainsbury's, in a convenient location within access to the high st.

    If the Knowle Society reject this development on an unused piece of land then they are signing a death penalty to the village in modern times.

  29. Rubbish! Presently, I do my weekly shop in either Solihull or Kenilworth where I can also go to bigger stores, like Lewis's or Boots, which Knowle and Dorridge are never likely to have but I also use Tescos in Knowle and the other shops there almost on a daily basis. I am sure many other Knowle residents are very happy to continue doing the same and for the village to retain its present character. There have been 2 surveys now, the Conservatives' one and one conducted by The Silhillian, which have both reversed Waitrose's own survey results.

  30. How many supermarkets do local residents need or want? Why are we obsessed with having so many supermarkets? Perhaps someone should take over Copt Heath Golf course and let all the major supermarkets have a store there. Warwick Rd and Station Rd can be made into a dual carriageways so facilitate access and any houses and facilities that get in the way can be knocked down. Would that keep all the cretins whop need supermarkets every 500 metres happy that there is lots of choice, convenience and modern living area?

  31. Unused land can be used for purposes other than supermarkets - e.g. a memorial park, tranquil public gardens or some other eye-pleasing attraction,

  32. I've heard from several (some reliable) sources that Sainsbury will not now be going to Dorridge, but Waitrose are moving from Knowle to Dorridge. This explains the delay in getting the building work started in Dorridge. To me, this is the ideal solution - Dorridge gets tidied up and is no longer the half derelict, and Knowle is left alone. The area gets a Waitrose but not in Knowle! Perfect!

    1. Have heard the same thing, brilliant if it's true. Best outcome for all.

  33. Well anyway - Sainsbury's are due to start demolishing the site end of august/beginning of sept.
    They expect to start trading december 2013.
    They are paying for the 'doing up' of Saleem Bagh and Konstansie Flowers - thank goodness!
    This development will undoubtedly improve the area.