Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sainsbury's to "improve appearance" of Forest Court

SAINSBURY’S has said it is looking to improve the appearance of boarded-up Forest Court in Dorridge after delaying plans for a superstore there.

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The firm is “fully aware of the frustrations felt by residents” over the delay, CEO Justin King said in a letter to a residents’leader.

Sainsbury’s said it has put the plan – given Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council permission in November 2011 – on hold because of the downturn in the econony.

Mr King said: “The decisions we make about our development programme do consider the impact on local communities in addition to the purely financial considerations.

“However the issues of the scheme shall remain and in the time taken to achieve consent has bought us into a much tougher economic climate as a whole, and as a company we have a duty to consider all our capital investments carefully.”

Yet he pointed to work to refurbish Station Approach and works on the closed Total petrol station in Grange Road – which Sainsbury’s aims to re-open by June – as “a public display of our commitment to Dorridge”.

It is “looking at ways to improve the appearance of the site in the meantime” Mr King told Dorridge & District Residents Association chairman Ian Spencer.

In another letter to residents behind an online-petition calling on work to start, Mr King said Sainsbury’s “will provide an update to the community at the end of April”.

The DDRA letter:

Dear Mr Spencer,

Thank you for your email on behalf of the Dorridge and District Residents Association sent last month, I apologise for the delay in responding.

We are very grateful for the support we have received from residents in Dorridge as we worked through the planning process. We also value the contribution of the residents association in developing our proposals over the last four years. I am pleased that you felt a trusting relationship was established with our development team during this time.

Given the relationship we have established with the community we are fully aware of the frustrations felt by residents, both individually and collectively. The decisions we make about our development programme do consider the impact on local communities in addition to the purely financial considerations. However the issues of the scheme shall remain and in the time taken to achieve consent has bought us into a much tougher economic climate as a whole, and as a company we have a duty to consider all our capital investments carefully.

I hope that the on-going work to refurbish Station Approach, the rehousing of previous tenants of Forest Court and the current works to reopen the petrol station are a public display of our commitment to Dorridge. Behind the scenes the team is also continuing to work on design detail with the Doctors Surgery, liaise with local councillors and look to fulfil the various planning conditions which need to be signed off before any work could start on Forest Court. We are also looking at ways to improve the appearance of the site in the meantime.

We will be looking to update you again around the end of April, when I suggest a meeting is set up with yourselves and Ben Littman, the Regional Development Manager, who will be able to update you on our current plans. I will ask Ben to do this, but if you have any queries in the meantime you can contact Ben on [phone number removed].

Yours sincerely

Justin King

The letter to the campaign group:

Dear Dorridge-Village Campaign Team,

Thank you for your email. Please be assured that we are aware of the frustrations felt by residents, both individually and collectively.

Our development team recently met with the council regarding the site. We do not yet have a confirmed timeframe but we will provide an update to the community at the end of April.

As you will now be aware, Sainsbury’s has received full planning permission for the petrol station works on Grange Road and I am happy to confirm that our contractor commenced work on Monday 8th April.

The work will take approximately 8 weeks and we hope to open the petrol station early this June.

If you have any further questions, please contact Sainsbury’s Regional Development Manager, Ben Littman, at ben.littman@sainsburys.co.uk or you can write to him at Sainsbury’s Dorridge, Freepost BM 8409, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B61 7BR.

Yours sincerely

Justin King
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34 comments:

  1. Please sign e petition on
    http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/supermarkets-or-superpowers
    Link above

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  2. The Sainsburys corporate computer, of course, is fully entitled and, indeed, is obliged to make sound financial decisions based on current economic conditions. However, to blame the economic downturn or any other external condition on its decision to delay development simply reveals the paucity of Sainsburys internal investment planning and risk assessment processes. Shareholders should be concerned that major development projects can be now considered fragile or economically non-viable just a year after obtaining planning permission. It is still surprising to me and, I should imagine, to residents and to councillors, that this development did not have the full financial approval of Sainsburys Board at the time planning permission was being sought. Clearly, there was no commitment to proceed with development at the time of the planning application and, so far as I can see, there is none now.

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  3. If they are looking at ways to improve the appearance of Forest Court until they start building the store, that to me says the store is some way off.

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    Replies
    1. Very good point, why would they spend money to improve the appearance. Obviously the start of the new store is a long way off.

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    2. be careful what you wish for. Sainsburys demolished in Crosby 7 years ago.... people are still waiting..... not sure if this (twitter) link will work. http://t.co/bTOc1TmNYS

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  4. good the further off it is the better as far as i/m concerned although i agree that the village is an eyesore at the moment. residents have been led up the garden path and no doubt will continue to be

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  5. Well said Chris Baker. It is laughable to blame viability against the store that they - not the residents - applied for.
    I am not the slightest bit interested in platitudes of tarting up the site. I want to store we were promised, and not to be fobbed off with anything else.

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  6. Nobody promised us anything, this is the way the business works!

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  7. No matter how much people scream and shout, nothing will be done until Sainsburys decides they are ready to build.

    Even if you decide to boycot the store once its opened, whats going to happen? the store will close down and become yet another eye sore.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing as I'm sure everyone would agree, but there should have been a start date and a completion date put on this project from the start, with penalties put in place if the build goes over.

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    Replies
    1. agree - there should have been dates etc. Sainsbury's are due to make an announcement end April so we should so what we can to make some noise.

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  8. Sainsbury's have 3 years from the final sign-off from the Council to break ground. The 3 years only started late last year when the traffic plan was signed off. Therefore, they are not going to start demolition until they know they can complete, as demolition means "breaking ground".

    Unfortunately, Sainsbury's hold all the cards, my only advice is to enjoy the peace and quiet until such time that business picks up and they decide to build! Sad, but true!

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  9. E petition reaches 500 signatures!
    https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/supermarkets-or-superpowers

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    Replies
    1. How many actually live in Dorridge? How many are really signing to progress the Dorridge development or are they simply signing to protest the supermarkets-or-superpowers principle as mentioned above?

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  10. Whilst the rest of the sensible world are busy trying to stop corporate machines like Sainsbury's from gaining an even greater stranglehold over the way we all live, the good folk of Dorridge are begging them to build a supermarket in the centre of the village.

    Just think about the absurdity of this situation.

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    Replies
    1. Here here, absolutely spot on.

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    2. "The rest of the sensible world?" Sounds a bit like King Caunte trying to stop the tide coming in!
      Sainsbury's just 'follow through'.

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    3. I agree. Unbelievable

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    4. What does it say that 500 random web users want the store started but over twice that many residents didn't want a store of this size at all and value a relatively quiet village centre!!!!!

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    5. It says that you've probably got your figures wrong, the original split of residents for and against was pretty much split down the middle and you're arguing about a train that left the station when planning was passed.

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    6. agreed 09:34

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  11. Remember, if a corporate machine hadn't built a railroad through Dorridge we wouldn't have the village we have. Development is a fact of life and, when properly thought through, brings many benefits not least in terms of employment. Whatever you think only large corporates can afford to do this kind of stuff and the Sainsbury's plan would have bought jobs and opportunity. I for one have no problems with that if they follow through. Reputation is everything as Starbucks and others discovered. So,until they deliver on some quite straightforward promises I will campaign against them. When they complete I will stop and shop! Guess we'll find you with the rest of the Flat Earth Society waiting for the world to stop.

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    Replies
    1. Doesn't seem to me that the Sainsbury's development was properly thought through and in that case is better left until it has been, lest we get another Forest Court, or worse. I consider the proposed development totally inappropriate for the site.

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    2. Well said 13:16. Concise and to the point.

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  12. What a shame you find it necessary to insult those of us who recognise the need for redevelopment but would prefer a something of a suitable size.

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    1. "would prefer a something of a suitable size" Well obviously!!

      People do say the stupidest things.

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  13. Back on the size issue - we got so bogged down with the DROVs arbitarily sized store designed on the basis of - I like the look of this. Let's not go there again. This store would be the saving of the centre of Dorridge - let's just pray it happens - I think we all understand a bit more about something being economically viable after what has happened - pity there was all the wrangling about the proposed design/size which probably did stop it going ahead before times got harder. Not sure what more people can do now.

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    1. Let's pray it doesn't!!
      I love Dorridge just the way it is!! It doesn't have to be a quintessential English village to be special. The beauty of Dorridge is the fact that it doesn't have a large supermarket at its core, along with the extra heavy traffic, noise and mess that goes with it.
      The trees are magnificent, a beautiful park and surrounding countryside to explore, a safe environment with quality homes with gardens for children to play in, good health care, excellent public transport and schools and more hairdressers and fast food outlets than I could poke a stick at. Many large supermarkets within a short distance.
      Stop judging communities on the quality of the shopping and appreciate those things that are really important and if a sense of community is missing then do something about it.

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  14. There's an update on the Facebook page now - Sainsbury's are starting demolition in the Autumn following Council approval for an internal reconfiguration of the floorspace to provide more retail space and less warehouse/staff space.

    Overall size, access, planting, design etc. is unchanged.

    Completion scheduled for Xmas 2014.

    Result! :-) Well done residents of Dorridge!

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    Replies
    1. Was so hoping they would go away. What a disaster. The ruination of a lovely peaceful settlement.

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  15. Sainsburys are dammed if they do and dammed if they dont.

    I'm pretty sure all the people who are against the store will still be shopping there anyway.

    I was born and brought up in Dorridge and although I didnt want to see the back of Forest Court, I am looking forward to the new store. I'm pretty sure the residents of Dorridge had the same feelings when Forest Court was built some years ago. Does any body remember what was on the site before Forest Court? Only a few select people.

    The biggest shame for Dorridge was building on Conker Lane, but hay ho, that was years ago.

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  16. I was also brought up in Dorridge and was a young child when Forest Court was opened and for the record
    I am totally against the new store, regardless of what they sell and will never shop there.

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  17. Justin's Mum must be delighted - goodness knows where she has been forced to shop in the meantime. Still, once Waitrose opens in Knowle, we all know where everyone will be bustling off to and I am sure that the imminent arrival of Waitrose is more likely to be ringing alarm bells in Orange City than the declining economic climate. Please cross reference Knowle parking charges and more Maximum Security Twilight Homes to be built on the old Knowle By Pass swathe of land from Wychwood Island to Station Road.

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