Sunday, 24 February 2013

Demolish Forest Court says residents' leader

SAINSBURY’S must demolish Forest Court and extend the doctors’ surgery to win back the trust of “betrayed” villagers, a residents’ association chairman has said.

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


Dorridge & District Residents Association’s (DDRA) Ian Spencer spoke after the firm said work would notstart on its superstore plan “in the year ahead” because of poor economic conditions.

The firm pledged to expand The Dorridge Practice as part of the development when it won permission from Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council in November 2011.

Mr Spencer said: “We understand that one of the issues with the development was that the extension of the surgery was difficult to manage together with the store.

“We suggest that the delay is an opportunity for Sainsbury’s to show their commitment to the community.

“We ask that they demolish the eyesore that is Forest Court and provide the community with the revitalised surgery that was promised.

“It will only be when Sainsbury’s start delivering the improvements to Dorridge that they assured us we needed that Sainsbury’s can regain the trust of the local community.”

He said: “We are very unhappy that the centre has been blighted.

“Sainsbury’s bought Forest Court, Sainsbury’s closed Forest Court, now Sainsbury’s have decided not to develop Forest Court. It is no exaggeration to say local residents feel betrayed by this recent announcement.

“As owners of the site, Sainsbury’s are the only people who are in a position to resolve the situation, yet they seem unconcerned about their impact on our community.”

And he said delays by Sainsbury’s in re-opening the closed Total petrol station in Grange Road “brings into question Sainsbury’s ability to manage the larger redevelopment project and makes us even more anxious as to what the future holds for the development”.

The firm said it needs further council permission to repair its canopy, pushing its re-opening to summer instead of spring.

Mr Spencer said the supermarket had yet to attend to two buildings in “poor repair” in Station Approach – which it owns – “despite repeated requests for the problems to be dealt with”.

The full DDRA response:

You may have heard that Justin King has written to local residents to say that because of various factors, Sainsbury’s are not going to redevelop Forest Court this year. Indeed the letter (the contents are available here) does not indicate any commitment to development in the future.

As Chairman of the Residents Association I want to express our disappointment at the delay the development of Forest Court that the Sainsbury’s project team have put so much time and effort into over five years.

Dorridge is a thriving community with many assets: its people, pleasant housing, the parks, its train station with excellent connections with Solihull, London and Birmingham and its location near marvellous Warwickshire countryside. Sainsbury’s invited themselves into this community. They told us that they were interested in our community and Justin King (Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s) himself made enthusiastic comments about the Dorridge development in the national press.

We are very unhappy that the centre has been blighted. Sainsbury’s bought Forest Court, Sainsbury’s closed Forest Court, now Sainsbury’s have decided not to develop Forest Court. It is no exaggeration to say local residents feel betrayed by this recent announcement. As owners of the site, Sainsbury’s are the only people who are in a position to resolve the situation, yet they seem unconcerned about their impact on our community.

By coincidence, Sainsbury’s are also responsible for the closure of the local petrol station. Mistakes have been made in the handover and in their assessment of the property. These have led to further delays in the refurbishment of the site. In contrast, we noticed how smoothly the transfer of the Box Trees Farm petrol station went. If they cannot bring in a simple refurbishment of a petrol station in a reasonable time, it brings into question Sainsbury’s ability to manage the larger redevelopment project and makes us even more anxious as to what the future holds for the development.

Sainsbury’s are also the owners of the Conservation Area buildings of Station Approach, and although they have been responsible for them for five years, we still find that they are not living up to their duty to properly maintain these buildings, with two units still in poor repair despite repeated requests for the problems to be dealt with. We would hope that Sainsbury’s will be responsible landlords and repair these buildings promptly. These buildings are independent of the development.

While it may be too much to ask that Sainsbury’s start construction immediately, we would like to be reassured that there will be no further delays and that there will be a firm written commitment to a start date in the very near future, certainly no further away than the very start of 2014. We understand that one of the issues with the development was that the extension of the surgery was difficult to manage together with the store. We suggest that the delay is an opportunity for Sainsbury’s to show their commitment to the community. We ask that they demolish the eyesore that is Forest Court and provide the community with the revitalised surgery that was promised. It will only be when Sainsbury’s start delivering the improvements to Dorridge that they assured us we needed that Sainsbury’s can regain the trust of the local community.


Ian Spencer

Chairman, Dorridge & District Residents Association


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142 comments:

  1. An articulate, complete and non-partisan response.

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  2. Do they really care? Surely it's all about money for them - they are a massive corporation not a local village shop!

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  3. Do they really care? Surely it's all about money for them - they are a massive corporation not a local village shop!

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  4. Finally the scales have dropped from Ian Spencer's eyes

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  5. 'Sainsburys invited themselves into this community'. I've heard it said that DDRA introduced them to the site. Can anyone confirm or deny this? These details matter!

    M.

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  6. I can confirm that Sainsbury's bought the site secretly early in 2008. The first contact we had was in October 2008 when Sainsbury's approached us with the first outline plans. The confusion arose because around the same time, based on some survey work we did at the time, we put together a portfolio to see if there was any interest in regenerating the centre, targeting a number of general developers aiming for a small supermarket and other shops. This turned out to be a pointless exercise as Sainbury's had already acquired a 999 year lease and then the property market crashed.

    Previously Forest Court was owned by a private individual who bought the site on a speculative basis, and could never be persuaded to communicate and only ever was represented by an agent.

    Hope this clarifies things.

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  7. Ian, your patience amazes me. You respond courteously to all comments, however snide they may be. Many appreciate the work you and others do for the "village". It's a thankless task in many ways as you will never satisfy everyone. Good luck as you continue to do your best with our local leviathan.
    We may not get development for some time, but can the site not be tidied up and instead of boarding, could the space not be made available to schools, art, photography groups to display their work? Some imagination and will power on Sainsbury's part is sorely needed if they want locals to support their stores here and elsewhere in the area. We have decided that we shall return to Tesco's and continue to support Morrison's for supermarket shopping.

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  8. I would agree that re-development of the Doctor's surgery would be a gesture of good faith and provide some re-assurance that the site would, indeed, be fully developed at some stage. Refurbishment of the buildings in Station Road may be important to some people but should not be offered to Sainsburys as a bargaining chip. I would not agree that the so-called 'eyesore' should be demolished. It is an eyesore mainly because it has been positively run down since 2008 by its corporate owners and is now boarded up, neglected and unused. A large, inaccessible, boarded up demolition site, similarly, could stay empty and be an equal eyesore for years and we would be deprived of a very useful car park in the meantime. I would suggest instead that we invite Sainsburys to re-open the site for community use and that they should consider opening their own pop-up, temporary store inside the existing building. This could be doen at very low cost. Re-opening the Atrium and giving us a reasonably sized local supermarket while Sainsburys re-considers their longer term plans seems to me to be a good use of the site - and the right thing to do in the circumstances. I suspect that such a proposal would be generally well received by the community - fair to everyone and, to my mind, the action of a socially responsible corporation.

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  9. how can Sainsburys blight an already blighted site as this has been for years? Without the likes of DROVS filled with people who have only just moved into the area this would be a half finished site not a half un-started site. Dorridge looks worse than an inner city suburb

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  10. To Anonymous 09:22 - time to stop kicking members of your own community. I have been here for over 26yrs and was among those who challenged Sainsburys plans. Have you any positive proposals of your own?

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  11. So 9.22, you're saying that if we'd just let them do what they wanted, they'd have done it by now?

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  12. As Sainsbury was the landlord since 2008, why on earth did they never tend to the precinct at least by keeping it cleaned properly and tending to the flower beds. They used dirty tactics on the traders and residents and are doing this along with other big business up and down the country.

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  13. In my opinion Forest Court has always been an eyesore and I have to say the square opposite isn't much better, which is such a pity when the rest of Dorridge and the surrounding countryside is really rather special.
    I am not a supporter of the Sainsbury store, and rather hope they go away but I have to say I will be delighted when Forest Court has gone. Dorridge does not need a temporary supermarket there are already more than enough in the area and little Tesco is fine for convenience items.
    If no firm start date is in sight I believe the buildings could be reinstated (and well maintained) for commercial and or community use. However,the cost of doing this may not be justified for what could be a short or unpredictable time frame. The alternative, if Sainsbury seriously intend to develop the site, would be to demolish and grass over,(adequately mown of course) which would, in the short term at least, be aesthetically pleasing for all who live, work and commute through Dorridge and could be used for community events. Parts could also provide much needed car parking.
    When life gives lemons - make lemonade!!!
    After all the ill feelings that were created during the planning application process it is very disappointing to think that because of a supermarket a community may yet again be split.

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  14. Ian, which are the two buildings in the conservation area that you refer to please?

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  15. It is the Doctors and the Chemist that I feel sorry for and I think that Sainsburys should do something about that. I just can't believe that planning for the petrol station can take all the time Sainsburys states, they have just got Dorridge on their books as an asset, which I am sure is all they want. Mr. King having grown up her knows just what the effect would be on Dorridge and does not care. It is all in the name of bigf business and'Profit and Loss'

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  16. Without knowing all the details, yes, I feel sorry for the Chemist, especially now they have such limited space. However, I don't feel a bit sorry for the doctors. They haven't lost their building or been forced into temporary accommodation. In fact they still have what they have always had. Perhaps Sainsbury are hoping that rather than wait they too will seek alternative larger accommodation elsewhere.

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  17. The bottom two units of Station Approach are the properties in the Conservation Area: the Chinese and what was the letting agent. As a Conservation Area, the owners have a legal obligation to maintain the buildings. Sainsbury's have tried to link this to the development, but they have a duty regardless of what happens on Forest Court. They have sorted out other buildings along there as they have moved traders around.

    It was of serious concern that the Sainsbury's Director of Development very deliberately did not even commit to 2014 when asked on Radio WM, and seemed to think that its current state represented "maintenance".

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  18. Nobody should feel any sympathy for the doctors or the chemist. Both canvassed support for the developments via petitions on a grossly misleading basis by asking 'Would you like us to have better premises within which to serve you?'. No mention of either this being on the basis of handing over control of the development to Sainsburys with everything that entailed, nor that it meant that these businesses and their owners would be gaining significant financial benefit from brand new premises at zero cost. Yet these petitions were cited by the council as demonstrating that at least as many people supported the Sainsburys development as opposed it. Not true at all - the people opposing it did indeed oppose it, whilst the people who 'supported' it had answered a very different question. If you dance with the devil.... the chemist and the doctors have got what they deserve.

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    1. Anonymous 1236
      You do not understand how practices are funded concerning new build or refurbs. The doctors may have got a free refurb, but whether the authorities would allow the rent that the practice would pay is open to question. No free lunch in the NHS primary care.

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  19. I am familiar with NHS Primary Care as I actually work within it and understand and acknowledge the point you make about ongoing rent being teated differently to the refurb costs. But considering the opportunity to take on a greater number of patients and a wider range of services from new, larger premises, there is clearly scope for significant financial gain for the partners in the practice in addition to the provision of improved patient care for the community. The point I was making is that I do not think that the potential financial gain was reflected in the either the question posed by the petition, or understood by the majority of people who signed it. The doctors and the chemist had a vested financial interest in canvassing support for the development of a new Sainsburys supermarket, and this was not made clear in the creation and submission of the petitions.

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  20. Could it also be that since Waitrose got the go ahead in Knowle, Sainsburys realised that the Knowle population would go there instead of Waitrose. I understand that Waitrose wanted Dorridge but that Sainsburys out bid them. Now I think there sums don't add up!!

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  21. Thank you 14.18 for confirming what I had always believed....the doctors had a financial interest in ensuring that the development and their re-furbishmnet went ahead. You explained the benefit to them very clearly and we would all take the opportunity for a handout from a developer I think they should have been more open and informed patience of the benefits not only to the sick but also to the GPs.

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  22. Am I the only person who finds it ironic that the people who 2 years ago said they didn't want Sainsburys to build are now the people who are desperate for Sainsburys to start building?

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    1. I doubt it's the same people. The community was more or less split in half on whether a development this size was appropriate for a residential setting.

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  23. HaHa - listen to yourselves!

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  24. A " pop up Sainsburys". I've heard it all now....

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  25. However good intentioned and committed to Dorridge the DDRA people are, I wish the group would cease giving the impression they somehow represent the views of Dorridge residents on matters of such importance.

    On matters where we can reasonably expect the whole community to be aligned, like having a clean and tidy village centre with neat flower beds and borders around the railway station for example, DDRA's efforts are without doubt appreciated by everyone. On more weighty matters however and especially on a subject so fundamental to village life and where the residents are clearly didvided in their views, DDRA has absolutely no mandate to claim legitimate representation of the residents of Dorridge.

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  26. That DDRA didn't even try to canvass opinion on preferred store size or hold a public meeting before siding with Sainsbury's is, in my opinion, one of the main reasons for continuing bad feeling in the community. Perhaps if they can be more consultative in future it would help to heal the divisions.



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  27. Is there a hidden agenda here? As the site remains undeveloped and becomes more derelict pressure will mount for something to be done. Maybe the planners will allow the original, larger, store to be built just to get the development under weigh? A derelict site like this may become the target of arson and graffiti making it even more unsightly, increasing the pressure etc. etc. Just a thought.

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  28. DDRA siding with Sainsburys in combination with the petitions from the doctors and the chemists gave invaluable PR to Sainsburys and a really easy 'get out of jail' card to the local council, allowing them to state that there was support for the development. Whilst there was indeed some support, this apparent representation on behalf of a community, though false and unfounded, did untold damage to the broader debate about allowing our towns and villages to become overrun by supermarkets and property developers, to the undoubted detriment of localities such as Dorridge. Is anyone really so naive as to think Sainsbury's was building a new doctors surgery and chemist for altruistic purposes? If so, just go for a little walk around Forest Court now, look at the mess it's in, then go home, put the kettle on, read Justin King's letter, and smell the coffee!

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    1. How true. Brilliantly put.

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  29. Couldn't have put it better myself.

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  30. Yes, well said. DDRA do not represent the views of Dorrdige residents and neither should they. We are after all grown ups who can speak for ourselves.

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  31. I think you are all missing the point blaming each other, I don't think that Sainsburys wants this site anymore and that is why they are not even opening the garage. If you think about it from their point of view. They need a large 'foot fall'. They know will only get it from Dorridge and they can't rely on all of them shopping in Dorridge as many many people shop where they work or have their groceries delivered. They won't get anyone from the Shirley Monkspath area as the have more supermarkets than they need, ditto Solihull, so you are left with Bently Heath, Knowle, Copt Heath, Chessetts Wood, Barston etc. and they will go to Waitrose. So my thinking is that they will sell it on and we will get 'Old Peoples Flats' which Solihull Council is very keep to build in our area.
    I might well be wrong, but I think this might be the case.

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    1. anonymous 1132
      had the same thoughts myself, when I mentioned social housing on the other thread

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    2. They wont get their money back from social housing, but bung up 30/40 or so £500k flats (like the ones in Avenue Road) and bang there's the £15/20 million back!!! Where are Crest/David Wilson etc when you need them??

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    3. The usual developer's formula is 1/3 land, 1/3 build, 1/3 profit. Seems you are about £30m to £40m short for that to be successful. You'd need over 100 dwellings at £500k for that to work. Know any builders with £30-£40million to throw at the site? Didn't think so.

      There isn't an exit plan for Sainsbury's that does not involve a significant write-off though they might not care amongst their billions.

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  32. I vote for a residential development of any kinf social or up market

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    1. Social? Careful what you wish for!

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  33. Too bad you don't get a vote then - this isn't a democracy you know. We didn't get a vote before and we won't get one in future.

    And I doubt that £20m is enough enough if Sainsbury's are to get their money back ar any immediate cut your losses exit plan. They paid £18m for the site, have spent a bit more since, then there's the demolition, clearance, and building the replacement flats/houses and don't forget, the doctors and chemist want new, enlarged, free business premises too. Add to that risk and margin for the developer and it's way more than £20m. I think an empty Forest Court will be with us for a long time.

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  34. The extension to doctors would only be large enough to meet current day demands - The building struggles to provide the space needed for those who work there at present. The larger building will cost more to run and the local authority pay rent based on size but have made it clear they will not increase rent on the extended property due to economic constraints.
    The DDRA are doing the best they can ( I am not a member) - I have been impressed with the Ian Spencer's response all through this process and the work that DDRA have put in - all their posts are factually based - not supposition or wild claims.
    People for the store and the general redevelopment were not 'duped' into thinking it was a good idea - we thought and think it is a good idea based on factual information. What we want now is for it to go ahead, certainly makes sense to put pressure on Sainsbury's to meet their obligations in terms of maitenance of site and conservation area buildings.
    Would be surprised if the clearing of the site and surgery improvements are on the cards - but support the idea as put forward by DDRA.
    Paula S

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  35. It is good to know that some people believe that Ian Spencer and DDRA have done well. I certainly don't and live in hope that he will do the decent thing and resign......many of us have had enough of him in the chair.

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  36. Let's not chuck all the blame at Ian and DDRA. Whether wittingly or unwittingly, their unrepresentative decision to back the store made it easy for our Councillors to do the same. Their voices counted very strongly in favour.

    I see that on Lynda Hatcher's Facebook page Mr Mackievicz is still pedalling the myth that 95% of people were in favour of THIS development.

    Even Sainsbury's own poll showed that Dorridge favoured a smaller store.

    But, as others have rightly point out; this is not about Dorridge. It is about creating a store that's large enough and located to take business from the huge Tesco at the end of Gate Lane - that means drawing in custom (and traffic) from miles around.

    The next step for Sainsbury's as a business would be to seek planning permission for a larger store. Dorridge needs to think very carefully about our response to that.

    Whether DDRA have the authoruty to co-ordinate that response, I don't know.

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  37. Not sure I agree with all of that. DDRA are undoubtedly doing what they think is the best they can, but that doesn't necessarily equate to it being good. I do not know Mr Spencer but again have confidence that his intentions and activities are of the highest standards and full integrity. What I cannot agree with is the comment that all DDRA's "posts are factually based". At the time of the Planning Committee DDRA gave their support to the proposal from Sainsbury's. That was subjective opinion, not fact. Consequently they now find themselves in an invidious position of having supported something that isn't happening. In retrospect, perhaps DDRA may feel they should have stayed far more neutral in the matter. They have my sympathy as there seems to be considerabls sniping going on.

    I very much hope that the people involved don't take it personally. This is an emotive subject but we must remember that unlike Sainsburys, DDRA and DROVS and our elected councillors are all our neighbours and friends too, and all acted with the best intentions. Whilst we may disagree with each other, it must not become overly divisive and never personal.

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    1. Hmmmm. I am happy to accept DDRA as blundering local volunteers with good intentions (although I'll never be convinced they weren't leant on in some more sinister way.)

      But the councillors?

      No - they are privy to Solihull MBC's grand plan'. They knew the financial implications if Sainsbury's walked away. I'd be surprised if they weren't strongly encouraged to back the development by either the Council's senior officers, the Tory party machinery or both. Why else would all three have gone against the groundswell of public opinion as evideced by the many many letters of objetion sent to Gary Palmer? Meeson, Mackkievicz and Courts MUST take it personally as they are our elected members, not a sort of "Dad's army" who water the flowers.

      Unfortunately Anon.

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  38. Matthew you are a level headed unflappable gentleman who always talks sense. Would you please consider setting up a group to help us all find a route through this situation which starts from where we are at and stops name calling about the past.

    Let's draw a line in the sand and start preparing our strategy for when Sainsbury come back with new proposals for an enlarged development.

    Please take the helm.

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    1. Thank you! It apparently cost the PR outift Gough Bailey Wrong £50k (and the rest!) to help get this store through planning. That is a hell of a lot of communication and convincing and I'm not sure I have that kind of time to volunteer... again...

      Sadly, whichever group of residents takes up the mantle, they will always be David to the Goliath in the form of Solihull MBC's & Sainsbury's.

      M.

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    2. Haha Matthew, talking to yourself again!

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  39. I am under the impression that Business Rates is payable on empty premises. If I am correct why don't Sainsbusry demolish Forest Court and give the residents a pleasant enviroment whilst deciding what to do with the plot and save themselves some money at the same time.

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    1. Would any local builders care to speculate on how much this might cost?

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  40. I can't see that Sainsburys will want a much bigger store and not one that will challege Gate Lane Tesco as they do not have the PARKING, so I should think that they are quite happy with the size, but I agree with one of the above they run the risk of not having foot fall after Waitrose is up and running. Also I understand that Waitrose was not finally arranged until January, so that would be about right for Sainsburys to have second thoughts. I think they were just waiting to see what happend in Knowle with Waitrose and then goet cold feet. I do agree with the above comment.

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  41. Anybody know a date for Waitrose to start building?

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  42. Perhaps Dorridge should take the fight further afield, why not get in touch with the Mail on Sunday and ask them to come and take photos of the site and the garage and let people see what happens if you say yes, to Sainsburys in your local area!!!!!!!!!

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  43. I understand they are starting in Spring 2013. Their problem is they have got to build about 5 or 4 old peoples homes to replace the 5 or 4 they are knocking down before they can start building. But it was stated in the paper it would be spring 2013. (Answer to Waitrose question)

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  44. I'm not sure anyone needs to take the helm actually. This is indeed about a little community asking a huge corporation to do something. If we all twitter (@sainsburysPR, @dailymail, @bbcnewsnight), email Justin king, contact the press, go on the Facebook page, caroline Spelman, greenpeace ( ok, but you know what I mean), we might be enough if an irritant to move up sainburys development list. We need to individually keep at it and overall we will become the itch that won't go away. Sainsburys will be thinking the Bbc WM radio and tv coverage will just die down. Persistence people, persistence.

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  45. That's assuming we want it to happen. Persoanlly I'm quite happy with neither a supermarket or new houses. Sainsbury's has an obligation to keep it neat and tidy and as long as they do that, I'm happy.

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  46. Sainsburys aren't going to build houses on the site - a developer won't buy it for housing either - simple economics.
    It may be with the government's talk of making planning easier (and this is a brownfield site) that Sainsbury's are thinking of reapplying for a bigger store - it makes good business sense for them.
    I would be happy with a bigger store - please let's not get into the mess we did last time. Opposition has lead to Dorridge being left behind. I understand DROVs idealism and 'vision' for the area but we need to be realistic.
    Paula S

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  47. A bigger store needs sufficient parking and dorridge doesn't have it. Paula don't you see the cars parked in every available space when you drive through or are you not local?
    Customers are changing their habits and smaller stores are doing the best business.
    If you want so much choice move to Shirley it sounds more suitable for your needs.

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  48. Paula please be realistic

    The site is too small for the type of store you want built there.....unless it couls always be 4 storey with a heli pad on the roof for deliveries.

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  49. Absolutely no to a bigger store.

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  50. Sainsburys will never build a bigger store because of the parking, that is not their problem. Their problem is they can't afford to build a small one, they have said so. Their sums do not add up, the shame is that they did not do the sums in 2010. What I don't understand it that they can afford to pay rates on the site and also on the petrol station, I would have thought they would have opened that with a shop, to get some money back.
    I think that what we need to push for is making the site look good until everything is sorted. I don't mean hording all over the place I mean grass and car parking.
    Like someone said, let the papers see how they leave a site they buy, that might make them do something.

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  51. I think there's a lot of naivity, don't believe everything that sainsburys say. They aren't a charity. They could make a small store work but its a very difficult site to develop and other sites they own will be easier. Supermarkets own land and sites all over the country, dorridge is not alone. So don't expect them to honour their 'promise' to build or tidy the site if its not in their interest they won't do it and a campaign won't make sny difference. You can't shame them into action because this is a corporation not a philanthropist.
    Get real some of us saw this coming. Log into tesco poly and see what the real world is doing.

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  52. A bit of insight into Sainsbury’s expansion plans, from their Annual Report in May 2012…

    “We have a healthy future pipeline of space ready for development, including planning consents for almost 70 supermarket extensions and we will continue to manage our portfolio with discipline.”

    “our focus for new store openings is the North, the West, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland”

    http://annualreport2012.j-sainsbury.co.uk/business-review/growing-space-and-creating-property-value/

    A quick Google search reveals that there are lots of other areas still waiting for their store…

    Eastleigh: http://bit.ly/WprH15
    Bingley: http://bit.ly/XyzGIL
    Bicester: http://bit.ly/YWp8Fl

    Anyway, I like things as they are. Is anyone any good at painting murals? We could do a nice trompe l'oiel

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  53. I dont like the look of what's there now, but it's always been ugly filled or empty. What I really dont want is more traffic. With the proposed additional parking restrictions about to take place in Arden Drive etc. Lord knows where all those cars are going to move to. All Dorridge's car parks now seem to be full by mid-morning, so how the village would cope with an influx of a further several hundred cars per hour (or whatever Sainsburys figures were) Lord knows. Haven't we now reached total saturation point?
    Lets push for Sainsburys to sell it on and get retirement flats and a few nice houses on the site, plus a reasonable car park and have our village centre back.

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    1. Sounds a great idea to me. The sooner the better.

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  54. With the vast range of professions and associated individual wealth that resides with a mile of the site (ie. those people who would be impacted if Sainsburys ever go ahead with their plans) a consortium of investors, developers, marketeers, builders, and potential residents and retailers should rise, and create a new multi-purpose white-collar Utopia, owned by the people, built by the people, and worked in and lived in by the people.

    The Dorridge Popular Front is born, under the idealistical leadership, but not in a hierarchical sense of course, of Citizen Matthew (with more than a nod and a wink to Wolfie Smith, for those of a certain age)!

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  55. I think action on facebook/DDRA/Caroline Spelman and contact with the media are our best way forward. Lets hope something comes of it.

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  56. Oh silly me! Just when I thought Sainsbury's had realised what a daft idea it was to build a large supermarket on a traffic island with no sensible road access for their massive wagons, it transpires that the problem is simply money! How about a collection?

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  57. Power to the (posh) people!

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  58. Are you assuming that everyone in Dorridge is 'posh', whatever that means. Don't you have anything more constructive to say?

    ReplyDelete
  59. When the axe came into the woods, the trees said, 'Well, at least the handle is one of us.'

    Fitting, really.

    ReplyDelete
  60. New Community facebook site - please visit. Set up by Dorridge shop/bar owners with Lynda Hatcher (who's actions we never expected to take off in the way they did!) Register your support for action if you have FB

    CLICK ON NAME ABOVE OR GO TO

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sainburys-Dorridge/338607642926890
    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  61. Never read such nonsense in my life "please Justin, come and make our village nicer, you said you would..."

    He doesn't own Sainsbury's you know. He is a paid employee tasked with creating value for shareholders. If the economic model doesn't work, he'd get fired for going ahead with the development just because he grew up in pretty little Dorridge and its inhabitants are revolting.

    ReplyDelete
  62. fed up with negativity on these pages1 March 2013 at 09:48

    I think its meant to be tongue in cheek! Be nice to see your positive contribution instead of griping about others who at least make an effort. Where's your brilliant letter then?? ah yes, probably non existent....

    ReplyDelete
  63. Starbucks are a corporation charged with maximising shareholder value, too - including minimisation of tax liabilities. But stakeholder pressure has resulted in them waiving reliefs that they are eligible for to the tune of £10m. Because sometimes such things, as part of the bigger picture, are good business. It stops boycotts.

    Tesco are a corporation charged without maximising shareholder value, too - which apparently included mixing a bit of horse into the burgers to keep costs down and the profit margin up. But stakeholder pressure has lead to them having to dramatically change their food sourcing arrangements to try to win back customers. Because it brings them back. And that keeps shareholders happy.

    So don't think that you can't have an impact. I admit that economic sanctions seem to hit harder than moral protest, but don't forget that Sainsburys are going to try to do business in Dorridge through the petrol station whether or not they develop Forest Court. So when they do open the pumps and the kiosk for business, don't give them your custom. The will pay attention sooner rather than later. And tongue in cheek stunts like Lynda's email are just designed to keep the agenda running in the foreground in the meantime. As Sainsburys rival says, every little helps.

    If you don't believe that you can have an impact, and you've already given up, fine. But don't lob hand grenades from the back when others are trying something, anything, to fight for a bit of progress on a clear and present problem.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Dear Justin

    Please be a darling and come along and build that new supermarket, you did after all promise you would.

    We paid a jolly lot of money for our house in Dorridge and are now very worried about how much it might be worth. When we moved here a few years ago we didn't actually notice 'Forest Court' and since then we've hardly ever visited it. Tristram and Jocasta did have the odd keyboard lesson there on Saturday mornings before they gave up and moved on to the flute and clarinet at school (sadly they gave up on these too), and my husband Giles did buy a pair of driving gloves from the little motoring shop early one Father's Day (I told him to go to John Lewis for something nice the week before but does he ever listen to me?). We never went to sthat strange little Italian cafe though, why would you with 'The Boot' being so close? I did use the car park a few times when taking the children to the doctors, and I once popped into Spar when Ocado forgot to add the Agave to my shopping delivery (but the people in Spar had never heard even heard of it and offered me some Golden Lion syrup).

    Anyway I must dash as the girls at tennis will be wondering where I am. So please build us the new shop. Yes I know I wrote to you two years ago asking you not to build it and I will of course be writing to you again once it's built complaining about the traffic, litter, opportunistic crime, and most of all the ghastly people from the North of the Borough who now visit Dorridge on a regular basis.

    Best wishes,

    Annabel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Annabel"(and Matthew)- if that's your assessment of the reasons we got to this stage, then fair enough. But the demographic of Dorridge is changing and the non-local younger working families that are settling here, whilst sharing your disdain for the Annabel stereotype, don't see why we should have to suffer a boarded-up eyesore because previous residents didn't 'get' localism. Are you saying we deserve to suffer and go down with the ship? All most of us want is for Sainsburys to get on and build the damn thing.

      Tarring us all with one brush says more about your own prejudices than it does about Dorridge.

      Delete
    2. Brilliant. Last paragraph is spot on.

      Delete
    3. Most people are missing the major point of Annabel's letter - it's not about social stereotyping at all.

      The point is that Forest Court is here. It was here when most of us moved here, as was the Railway Station, the road to Knowle, the big trees, the sunshine and sometimes the rain. Don't look to Sainsburys, the council, the doctors or anyone else to change that or somehow sort it out and create perfection because it wasn't like that before, and won't be in the future. Like the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, it's just a fact of life.

      We/you may get the boards removed, you may get it to look a bit more tidy, but there is no utopian solution. Dorridge never had a village green, and never will have. Stop dreaming, and live with it.

      Delete
  65. 11:30 suggest you get help, or move. Preferably both.

    How little you know.

    ReplyDelete
  66. A nice bit of humour and underneath it all, that spoof letter captures the situation very well indeed. Be careful what you wish for. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  67. David Tyler, Chairman – david.tyler@sainsburys.co.uk

    Justin King, Chief Executive – justin.king@sainsburys.co.uk

    Darren Shapland, Group Development Director – darren.shapland@sainsburys.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  68. If Justin King really does care about the place he was raised, then I think he should invest his yearly bonus (£3-6million) + £900,000.00 basic into the development.

    If you google Justin King you will find he is still reasonably local... Harbury, just south of Leamington.

    Its amazing what you can find on the internet.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Who was taking all the photos of the site on Thursday afternoon, I hope for a Newspaper??
    Also read in the Solihull News a wonderful 'tongue in cheek' letter saying much the same as I said early on in these postings that Solihull Council should not have given permission for 2 Super Markets in such a small area and in doing so Waitrose has won, leaving Sainsbury's with a large problem. Also re the Doctors getting more patents, that won't matter as none of the ones they already had (me included) will be able to park to go there, so will move to Downing Close where they can.

    ReplyDelete
  70. We done Annabel (or whoever) it says it all and oh so true. Once Bishops/Budgons went we Dorridge people never supported the shops in the same way again and this is what has now happend. All a great shame, but true.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Have to agree, the majority of residents never used the great shops we had in forest court and they became unsustainable plus the owner let the precinct rot.
    If sainsburys is ever built it will have limited appeal due to limited parking an pretty much no one wants to walk to the shops. People drive to the local schools and even to get the Sunday paper.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Telco Monkspath opened over 20 years ago. Could some one remind me of all the shops that we did not support in the following twenty years?

    ReplyDelete
  73. Sorry don't understand what your point is!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  74. I was asking to be reminded of what all these great shops that we should have been supporting actually were. Not a trick question. I really can't remember who they were and why I should have been using them as opposed to one stop shopping close by.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Sorry was no I who said they were great shops. I seem to remember we had a cafe, Dorridge Auto, Manstyle or something, we had a bike shop at one time a butchers and good shoe shop who's owner 'frighted my children to death' a hairdressers and Jewellers, Post Office and baby shop next to Bishops/budgens, like you can't remember them all. It was much busier when there was a good supermarket at the end that I do remember. Perhaps others can name more shops.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Useful addresses, 12.39, for those of us who don't do facebook. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  77. There were great independent shops there. Justin will remember that at one time we had a bakery, a butchers, a greengrocer, and ironmongery, a newsagent, a chemist, a shoeshop, a clothes shop and several other useful shops. Doesn't that sound like an ideal shopping centre for Dorridge now? They sold pretty much everything you would want to buy locally. Supermarkets undercut them and now they are gone. Sadly politicians stopped supporting small business in favour of the millionaire party funders a long time ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I grew up in Dorridge and still love it. I happily remember all of the above shops and the families /people/characters that either owned or worked in them. As a family we always shopped in "the village".

      I don't doubt that supermarkets account for most if not all closures of independent food retailers but one only has to look at Solihull and other main centres to see that almost every commodity/service available is retailed by chains of one description or another including hairdressing, opticians, etc.and hardly any of the shops/businesses are independent.
      Most if not all of us are probably guilty in encouraging this. Businesses can't operate unless supported by the consumer and therefore, financially viable. Economies of scale make it very difficult for independents to compete unless they can offer something unique/exceptional in the way of product, service or convenience.

      Whether you are for or against this Sainsbury's development I suggest you visit www.tescopoly.org, makes for very interesting reading. The current situation in Dorridge is not unique it is happening around the world. Dorridge is featured in the West Midlands section.

      I am opposed to this inappropriate development on what is pretty much a traffic island in the middle of a small village centre.

      Delete
    2. The small local shops that you mention have gone for a reason and that reason is that nobody used them. Daft opening hours (closed for lunch and shutting at 5:30) so that anybody with a job had to wait till Saturday to use them along with expensive and limited goods.

      Back in the real world where people are busy and need to use the shops at times convenient to them, a Sainsbury's in Dorridge is just the ticket and I hope they go ahead with getting permission for a larger store.

      If they proceed with the smaller store it will be like the one in Poplar Way in Solihull where there is no deli or fish counter and a limited range throughout. All the bleating from Matthew and his NIMBY pals will all be forgotten in a couple of years when they decided it's not so bad after all and rather like that they don't have to drive halfway across Solihull.

      Tesco and Waitrose in Knowle will continue to exist. Tesco serving the pensioners and those devoid of any culinary standards and Waitrose for the wealthy and for weekend treats but neither can satisfy the full weekly shop for the general working population.

      I'm disappointed it's taking so long but if it means we get a full sized and useful shop then I'm willing to wait.

      Delete
  78. If Sainsburys could make money from the proposed development they would have started building by now. If they can't make money, they won't and neither should they develop the site either. Who wants a failing store, more failing new outlets as part of the development (realistically, how would Sainsburys/the developers attract any tenants in the current climate?), and empty stores in the existing 'square' in Dorridge as 'little Tesco' pull out, perhaps the Chines move over the road etc.? And if it all failed, Dorridge would be worse for it, and Sainsburys would be too, and remember, everyone either has a pension or is saving for one, and will have Sainsburys shares along with thousands of others in your pension pot.

    Do you really want our major corporations to make investment decisions based on where their CEOs used to live? No thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolute common sense. Well written.






















      Delete
    2. So residents should be grateful to Sainsburys on the basis that the Forest court mess that they preside over, was done for sound commercial reasons that benefit their shareholders? If I were a shareholder I'd be pretty concerned that the company have wasted over 18 million quid on a project that was badly thought through. To my mind they have let down their shareholders, their supporters and Dorridge in general. Personally I'd like to believe there is scope for major corporations to treat communities with respect in their business. Apparently others don't.

      Delete
    3. Well said

      Delete
  79. Dead right - at least someone is saying the right things.

    ReplyDelete
  80. It is just what I think and they know they can never make it pay with too little parking and not enough people walking to do their shopping.
    It is all very sad for Dorridge, I wonder if Sainsburys just out bid Waitrose to stop them coming and never thought they would get a site in Knowle, what a shame that Waitrose did not win the bid. By now we would have had a nice store. All we can do is perhaps make 'if we can' Sainsburys clear the site and leave it looking nice, until something else is done with it.

    ReplyDelete
  81. The sadness started when Forest Court was built - we cannot look to Sainsburys to cure the wrongs of the past. They just happen to be the current incumbent. The problem is historical (it should never have been built) and current (we all want a picturesque utopia that never existed anyway - Dorridge is not, and has never been, the Cotswolds)

    ReplyDelete
  82. Just thought you would like to know that the building of Waitrose has been put back from Spring 2013 to November, for the start date! Perhaps more cold feet due to parking etc. because as everyone knows parking it Knowle is dreadful already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting to compare and contrast the Knowle situation with Dorridge. The Knowle development gives nothing to Knowle but Waitrose and traffic problems. If it doesn't happen, Knowle will carry on regardless. If it does not carry on, the developers own land that they can do other things with - they have an exit strategy. SMBC planning went bananas when they approved it: Knowle does need a tidy up, but this development wasn't it, yet the committee just decided that any old project would do - one that has great potential to damage Knowle High Street (Dorridge did not have a good functional centre to damage). The developers got the plans through on a shoe-string - compare the depth of research presented on the Sainsbury's application with the Waitrose application.

      I doubt that the Waitrose development will go ahead. Any sensible analysis will show that they simply would not be able to get the people in the doors. Waitrose have put no money up for the development and will do their own research before they commit to taking on the store. I am sure that they will not be contractually committed to the developers.

      Waitrose had a long look at Dorridge and couldn't make it work. Sainsbury's were not worried about viability when they bought the site, they simply wanted it strategically to put themselves closer to their customers when they'd got a Tesco in between. They are quite happy to do things that do not make financial sense in the short term in their long term game of monopoly.

      Delete
  83. Approaching 200 "likes" already! Please spread the word. Link above
    Https://www.facebook.com/dorridgesainsburys

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it not possible to make this page 'open' - we don't all have (or want) access to Facebook..

      Delete
  84. Well said!! Please let us use this blog and not facebook. I think facebook is very over rated and this is much clearer, and I think many more people are happier with it (perhaps an older generation), though my daughter does not use it or twitter, so perhaps not always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree

      Delete
    2. Facebook happens to do one thing quite well - spreading the word. Once you know about something it has lots of other problems.

      The people who are trying to generate the energy to do something are not technicians and don't want to get bogged down but I'll certainly pass the word on because I think that there is probably an easy way to improve getting the message about. Same goes for those who aren't really interested in using their computers, but you'll appreciate that getting the word out by traditional means is a lot of hard work compared with Teh InterWeb.

      If you email dorridgesainsburys@gmail.com then you'll at least get in touch with the right people.

      Delete
  85. Actually I found the link does work, but anyway it's not about either/or - both are just fine! Make your feeling known wherever works for you.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Our we on TV again as the TV vans are outside the boarded up building.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Live from Sainsbury's Boardroom:

    JK: I've had second thoughts and think we should build in Dorridge after all

    Chairman: But it's been shown that the development is financially viable; we need to adhere to our good corporate governance principles to protect the shareholders

    JK: But Mr Chairman, they've got 200 'likes' on Facebook!

    Chairman: Well why didn't you say so earlier Justin????? Fire up the diggers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not that we should encourage your sarcasm, but haven't you missed out the word 'not' as in "the development is NOT financially viable"?

      People like you should just keep out of the debate especially if you can't even type.

      Delete
    2. Lighten up! They are only trying to put a smile on your face.

      Delete
  88. Looking at Face Book I think that we have lost our way it seem to be full of students with their silly photos say 'Like' they don't look like Dorridge residents fighting for their villiage. I don't think they will have much effect on Sainsburys. What you need are letters to the national newspapers and TV. not Face Book. You need someone to give a lead perhaps on this site and get people to write.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Why do people think they have the right to be rude on this site, we in England are famious for laughing in the face of adversity and I am glad to see that some of us still are. You don't have to be rude to get things done!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  90. Far be it from me to accelerate the arrival of Sainsbury's HGVs, but it occurs to me that the "Hurry Up Justin" campaign are missing a trick - a petition from the sick and infirm inhabitants of the Avenue Road Doctors' practice. That's wot swung it last time. Never mind Facebook - get the PALS onto it forthwith.


    ReplyDelete
  91. To 'silly students are liking the campaign' - How ageist are you?
    Some young people happen to live in Dorridge Thank God and it's great they are joining the campaign - Also this is 2013 - Facebook is very relevant form of communication and spreading of the word.
    This blog is useful but also limited to the immediate local area


    ReplyDelete
  92. I am not ageist, I happen to be young! my point was not that the Students were silly, but that silly photos of students saying that they liked the campaing will not do anything to make Sainsburys take action. You need to have a campaign and all take part in it. Like the above suggestion about Dorridge Surgery. Facebook is good at getting the word out, but will not make Sainburys do anything.

    ReplyDelete
  93. You may be interested to know that the Facebook page has the most contributions by far (95% +) from people who class themselves as living the area, ageds 35-49. Over 300 people have liked the page in a week. The most recent posting (Birmingham post article) which went on today has been viewed by over 2000 people in the UK. The reach in one week has exceeded 6000 people (uk).

    ReplyDelete
  94. Yes, but what effect is it having on Sainsburys? nothing I should think. You need action, perhaps Dorridge residents having a vidual and using Facebook to get them there and ringing the nationals when you do. Also do I take it that anyone over 49 does not use Facebook, so how are they being kept in the loop. I would thing that many people over 70 use facebook to keep in contact with grandchildren etc. Now who is being ageist?

    ReplyDelete
  95. The Facebook page may indeed be making no difference, but neither may anything else. My understanding is that it was set up to support other activities and is full of postings encouraging people to write, email, and so on. I say Well Done!. The only certainty is doing nothing, will achieve nothing. All the other mechanisms are still in place, and From what I can see the page reaches a lot of people which has to be a good thing in raising the profile and achieving coverage in the local press, Birmingham post, and the BBC. Let's us all keep plugging away by whatever means works best for each of us. The issue here a faceless company who have failed to keep their promises.

    ReplyDelete
  96. I have posted in Facebook I am not knocking it, I just think we need some leadership and a plan, we are all writing etc. I just feel that getting together to go for perhaps one thing at a time might work better. Like a protest, perhaps when the students come home, they have always been good at that.
    Are we going for knocking the site flat and making a carpark at the moment? or getting on and building the store, I just feel we should go for on thing and the move on to the next.
    In the meantime have we got any artests in Dorridge who could paint some really nice rural scenes on the hordings?

    ReplyDelete
  97. Thought I would let the people who do not have facebook and there are many in the area have the lastet suggestion of who to write to.



    Yesterday 2..Writecomment...Press EnFacebook.
    28 February.Sainsburys-Dorridge
    19 hours ago.Please maek time to contact Eric Pickles in his role as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government at
    eric.pickles@communities.gsi.gov.uk

    Let him know what is happening in Dorridge. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  98. you are wasting your time. do you think Dorridge is the only place that Sainsburys Tescos et all have bought up disused sites and then abandoned them because they weren't quite right after all?
    look at the Tescopoly website supermarkets are doing this all over - get used to it. The best we can do is lobby Sainsburys to sell to a housing developer for old peoples flats or even Banner Homes for some executive type houses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree and yes please.

      Delete
    2. Thank you Mr Banner!

      Delete
  99. I think the best we can hope for at the moment is to get them to clear the site and make it look good, perhaps as a car park. Then either open the Petrol Station or sell it on, I think it looks worse than the site, all it needs is the guard dog showing its teeth through the wire!

    ReplyDelete
  100. Its a big mistake letting Sainsbury's do this. I grew up in the area and have recently moved back to settle down (3 years ago). It will bring down house prices, create more pollution, increase the traffic and danger, especially to children.

    I'm not sure if its the people I mix with, but I have yet to find anyone who says its a positive development (people age 25 to 60).

    Time to get back on Rightmove looking at houses in Lapworth...!


    ReplyDelete
  101. More doom and gloom for the heart of our village.

    4 of the 5 shop units on Station Road facing the "proposed Sainsbury's development" are up for sale with John Shepherd .

    Perhaps this is another opportunity for our beloved Justin King to buy up property close down the businesses and board them up ......shame he don't paint the chip board orange.

    ReplyDelete
  102. We've got a very underused bus service and most of us drive everywhere why does dorridge need more shops?
    Knowle delivers for every need with or without waitrose we should all be more content to buy less iny opinion

    ReplyDelete
  103. I could not agree more. If Dorridge had needed a lot of shops it would have them, but as they were all under used this is what has happened. Knowle is well used and so is Bently Heath so not much call for Dorridge, the people of Dorridge did not support their shops and now they are regretting it.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Want to go to Sainsburys AGM on Wednesday 10 July 2013?

    If so you need a share or two.
    can't recommend where to purchase but here is one site.
    Please take your own advice but make sure any purchase brings with it voting rights and is not held in a nominee account.

    http://www.money.co.uk/share-dealing/all-share-dealing.htm

    ReplyDelete
  105. find us on twitter @justinkinghome

    link above might work for you!

    ReplyDelete
  106. Sign - see link above - supermarket or superpower?

    http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/sainsbury-s-and-other-large-supermarkets-supermarkets-or-superpowers-say-no-to-boarded-up-britain

    ReplyDelete
  107. David Tyler, Chairman – david.tyler@sainsburys.co.uk
    Justin King, Chief Executive – justin.king@sainsburys.co.uk
    Darren Shapland, Group Development Director – darren.shapland@sainsburys.co.uk


    Justin King - yearly bonus (£3-6million) + £900,000.00 basic.
    If you google Justin King you will find he is still reasonably local... Harbury, just south of Leamington.

    Its amazing what you can find on the internet!!

    ReplyDelete
  108. http://www.change.org/users/dorridgesainsburys

    ReplyDelete