Saturday, 3 August 2013

Approve expanded Sainsbury's plan, council officer says

A BID to expand an approved plan for a Sainsbury’s should be approved, a council planning officer has said.

                    130605 - Sainsbury's Dorridge (1)

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

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee is urged to approve the plan when it meets on Wednesday.


The firm wants to increase the 1,812sqm sales area of the Forest Court scheme approved in 2011 to 2,276sqm, some 26 per cent larger. A 2,462sqm plan was rejected in 2010.

It put the smaller plan on hold because of economic conditions but has pledged to start work within six months if the new scheme – to add non-food goods by reconfiguring existing space - is approved. The building size would not increase.

A council planning officer’s report recommends members approve the plan.

It says: “It will regenerate a run-down ‘brownfield’ retail development in the centre of Dorridge [and] provide a substantial number of new jobs”.

It would cause no “severe harm” to road safety and extra traffic would not “be harmful” it adds.

Some 31 people and a signature with more than 600 signatures opposed the plan to the council with concerns about traffic.

But 33 letters of support were made to the council and Dorridge & Hockley Heath councillor Ken Meeson said the “overwhelming” view of people who contacted him was of support.

Resident Claire Price told the council: “This needs to get built sooner rather than later.”

Michelle Gregory said the bricked-up Forest Court is a “mess” adding: “Please can this be approved so Sainsbury’s can get on with it!”

Mandy Cowan wrote: “I strongly support the proposal and look forward to  Sainsbury’s moving quickly to restore our village back so it doesn’t look like an eyesore as it currently does.”

But Matthew Walker said Sainsbury’s had “manipulated” the planning process, saying “This store is now significantly bigger than the one Sainsbury’s were granted permission to  build. It will be damaging to Dorridge.”

Anne Vanden Bosch said: “There is no way that Dorridge residents can support a supermarket of the proposed size. The  development will cause traffic congestion on quiet residential roads and destroy the character of the village.”

Meanwhile, the council has approved a bid to extend delivery hours at a new Sainsbury’s petrol station on Grange Road to 6am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and from 7am to 10pm on Sunday.

This compares to 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and no deliveries on Sunday.


What do you think? Leave your comments below. No registration required. Posts must abide by the terms and conditions. Report comments at news@thesilhillian.co.uk.

Click here to get stories by email.

51 comments:

  1. The proposed store is just 7% smaller than the one that the planners kicked out in 2009. Plus Sainsbury's want to sell non-food goods and run the cafe. And erect a golden statue of Justin King in Dorridge Park. (Ok, the last bit is made up but who knows where Sainsbury's would stop?)

    This would be bigger (in terms of retail space) than Morrisons central Solihull store. There are 184 parking spaces planned whereas Morrisons has about 350! Don't forget that's for patients at the doctors as well as people who might want to use the other shops. That can't be right can it?

    Is Cllr Meeson right - that the "overwhelming" view is of support. Or are we all just tired of standing in the way of the Sainsbury's juggernaut?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, who is Matthew Walker? We have to get on with the build. There are so many positives that outweigh the very small negatives. Please don’t "Walk with the Dinosaurs!

      Delete
    2. Somewhat personal. Do you want to advertise my inside leg measurement too?

      I'll respond to your point about dinosaurs later...

      Delete
    3. Not interested in your inside leg measurement I can assure you. I am however interested in your vision!

      Delete
  2. Here come the blog nutters ........

    ReplyDelete
  3. Give it a rest Matthew. The tiny amount of support that you had a couple of years ago has now diminished to virtually nothing. Now toddle off and stop bleating. Nobody is listening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am listening to Matthew but I am not listening to you!

      Delete
    2. well said 13:41 and 19:38!! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..........

      Delete
  4. I hope it gets the green light. Can't wait to shop at Sainsburys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's quite a big one in Shirley and another in Solihull - you could have been there and back by now :)

      Delete
  5. Matthew, as always you write with common sense and good humour.
    Please ignore those people who are so devoid of a sensible argument that they find it necessary to make insulting remarks about you . You are not alone in believing that there have been dark forces at work promoting this over-large store.
    No one is against the redevelopment of Forest Court nor the inclusion of a new supermarket. Concerns are merely based on the inappropriate size of Sainsbury and the knock on effect on the rest of the users of village facilities.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm not suggesting that aliens have been sighted over Forest Court or that 'funny handshakes' are involved.

    It might simply that Solihull Council can't afford to lose a legal battle to Sainsbury's so there's a "three-line whip" for them to approve the development. If that means getting local bigwigs (and DDRA) on board, that's perfectly understandable isn't it? Not right, or fair, or especially democratic but perfectly plausible.

    I also suggest that there's plenty of opposition out there but that people are tired of arguing. Developers have a name for it: protestor fatigue. Nothing's stopping people sending their objections to the council, fruitless as that may be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...or...... as per the article and your final para in 12:24 Cllr Meeson is right - there IS overwhelming support!!!

      PARKING: I agree parking is an issue and with increasing usage of Chiltern and some significant housing development on the way, is it timely to make (both) Chiltern car parks 2 storey? I think this would allay justified parking concerns re the store and also bring the parking infrastructure up to date. I hope extension of the car parks happens, and the planning committee have the sense to ask Sainsbury's for a financial contribution, as a key beneficiary. (I speak as someone who walks to the station by the way and is if favour of the Sainsbury development - including the increase retail space - even though I will be directly affected by increase in traffic due to where I live).

      Delete
    2. Read the above article. 33 letters supporting, 31 opposing. So it's still about 50:50 but the overwhelming majority couldn't care either way!

      Delete
  7. No need for people to be rude about other peoples views.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is concerning to me that Councillors are referring to their private communications in preference to the formal objection register. I have skimmed through this. there is a good balance of opinion for and against. However, most of the scheme do not address the issues raised in the planning application but simply express an opinion in favour of the scheme (whatever it is). Most of those opposing provide arguments which challenge the basis for the assertions that the new scheme will have little impact. I hope and trust that Council officials will address these issues and that councillors will represent the opinions of concerned residents in the same balanced way i.e that the serious and reasonable concerns which informed the original decision remain. there have been no changes in circumstances in the meantime and, therefore, there are no grounds for reversing the original, valid and very carefully considered planning decision. the correct decision, surely, would be to defer decision on expansion until and unless Sainsburys and the Highways Dept can demonstrate that the current approved plan can be implemented without undue adverse impacts on the traffic congestion and local amenity.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I agree Chris. That would be a very reasonable and I suspect popular decicion from the planners. We know that Sainsbury's have room to expand if it transpires that people are walking, cycling or using public transport as much as they predict and their parking projetions are not, in fact, pure fiction.

    The other key points are around NPPF - the new planning legislation. I think this means that if Sainsbury's can demonstrate the store is meets sustainability criteria the council are much more likely to approve. How any supermarket can truly "sustainable" is, of course, a moot point!

    ReplyDelete
  10. http://kingsizestore.tumblr.com/

    ReplyDelete
  11. An earlier comment suggests that people opposed to this store are labelled dinosaurs. that's simply not true. We are the progressive ones! Consider these quotes from a 2012 Telegraph article...

    "Do you need to build large hypermarkets in the UK when the internet is taking so much growth in electrical, in clothing, in general merchandise?" Philip Clarke, Chief Exec, Tesco, 2012

    "Today, those large retailers that have extensive retail space dedicated to non-food will find they have a property albatross around their necks." Dalton Philips, Chief Exec, Morrisons

    And from the same article...

    "It's not just the big, bulky, boring white goods that shoppers have turned to the internet for. In America a service owned by Amazon, called soap.com, has started delivering all the small, bulky, boring household goods, such as washing powder, nappies and toothpaste, as well as breakfast cereals, tins of tuna and cans of baked beans."

    The future is not in large supermarkets. Groceries are the UK's third biggest online shopping category and one of the fastest growing.

    It suggests that it's actually the proponents of this sort of store who are stuck in the past. Maybe that's why the parents at the local schools were largely against a big store, whilst the 50-something crowd in DDRA and at the GPs surgery are typically in favour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the superstores - "hypermarkets" to quote - are out of fashion - so actually this store sounds like the ideal model for future development by supermarkets - not a big warehouse selling white goods, bikes and TVs a la Tesco Monkspath, but one that focuses on food sales so you know you can go locally to buy that missing ingredient or do a large food shop and acts as a shop front for their other services (including online). To quote Matthew the future is not in large supermarkets, and the reality is that this is not a large supermarket.

      I don't see local people packing Knowle High Street and the tumbleweed in the superstores, so perhaps Matthew has missed something in his incisive analysis?

      Delete
  12. Have to agree with above - this store will not be massive - it patently isn't a hypermarket. It's always a risk like building 'Forest Court' in the first place. Ended up with too many units and unattractive to boot. However, this store is much more likely to meet local needs now and into the future. I would not have been against a smaller store but as we all know that was never an economic reality.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I haven't missed anything. The economic downturn and accelerated migration of retail online means that places like Knowle High Street are quiet too. I'm not presenting this as "lovely, small shops" vs "nasty big shops" debate.

    What I am saying is that a store as large as this (town-centre sized) in a setting like this (a growing village) is not sustainable.

    I suggest you drive past Morrisons Solihull or take a look on Google Maps. Then imagine that transplanted into Dorridge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems neither the editor or yourself have read the Officer's Report. Have you read the officers' report? Do you understand it? See condition 21. Sainsbury's aren't going to get what they asked for.

      Delete
    2. Sainsbury's wanted this:

      "This application seeks to amend the plans previously permitted under condition 1 and vary the wording of condition 21 to limit the total sales area to 2,276sqm, of which no more than 1,812sqm shall be food sales."

      New condition 21 states:

      "The retail sales area of the food store hereby approved shall not exceed 2,276sqm (including 188sqm café), of which no more than 1812sqm shall comprise food sales, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority."

      What Sainsbury's wanted and what the new proposed section 21 proposes are therefore the same.

      The story makes this clear:

      "It put the smaller plan on hold because of economic conditions but has pledged to start work within six months if the new scheme – to add non-food goods by reconfiguring existing space - is approved. The building size would not increase."

      Delete
    3. So let me understand. You want to encourage people to stay at home and order food and goods on the internet? So that’s better than creating medium size stores so that people can get out and mix with other people and chat and enjoy the experience of interacting? The store will also create jobs. It will also improve the aesthetics of the village. This is not America and thank God for that!! Also please show some respect to the older generation Matthew. If you want to sit in your bedroom and order your nappies and toothpaste on your laptop then please do so. We will continue to go out into the sunshine and enjoy life.

      Delete
    4. Have a look at the drawings on the non-technical summary within the application, the words Sainsbury's use in that document and see if you can make your words, the Sainsbury's words of the original application and then the revised condition 21 match up. In simple terms Sainsbury's wanted 2276sqm which did not include the cafe. The condition gives them a 15% increase limit, not a 26% increase.

      Delete
    5. @22:288 Once I've fished ordering my nappies on the laptop, I put them on and go out and enjoy life somewhere other than a supermarket, where there is little in the way of sunshine. Is choosing cheeses as much fun as you can stomach?

      Delete
    6. Now its beginning to make sense, do you wear high heels as well?

      Delete
  14. This is all so depressing.

    I think we live in a lovely area with nice friendly neighbours.

    I hate the prospect of this overlarge store spoiling our quality of life.

    BUT and it is a very BIG BUT.....I am afraid of voicing my concerns in an open forum.

    I started to write a letter of objection to send to the Planning Department with the intention of coping-in the Ward Councillors. I am afraid that I chicken out. Much to my shame I could not face putting my name publically to my objections. The sheer nastiness that has been expressed on this site makes me sad. It should have been possible for us to have a rational examination of the issues and even if we didn't agree we could have respect the views of others.

    Whether you were for or against this extension to the store we are all the losers. We have shown ourselves up to be petty minded ( me included) and the only winner is Sainsbury. They must be laughing up their corporate sleeve at how easy it was to dupe the villagers of Dorridge. DIVIDE AND RULE is their motto.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I agree 18.21. I am going to move doctors to Knowle after having mentioned (politely) that I thought the were clouding the water last time by supporting this store. I wish I'd never spoken out. I don't feel welcome any more. It's so sad.

    ReplyDelete
  16. In Forest Court did Justin King,
    A stately pleasuredome decree
    Where Alf, the happy shopper, ran
    Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to checkout three.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The sooner they knock Forest Court down and get Sainsburys built the better - I am looking forward to shopping there!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you 09:23. And remember, there's no 'I' in "team", but there is one in "selfish"

      Delete
    2. Kingsizestore should also remember that there are I's in KingSizeStore and idiot.

      Delete
  18. I think Matthew needs help and I don't mean with his homework .

    ReplyDelete
  19. Haha - very funny :)

    Acutally, I do need some help to deliver all the objections I've received over the last few days to our Ward Councillors.

    Never let it be said that Dorridge is 100% in favour of this development; far from it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. How come that snake Meeson thinks most are in favour, in 21 years in dorridge I've never once seen him in the village and he's never asked me what I or my neighbours think.

    ReplyDelete
  21. He should read this...

    http://kingsizestore.tumblr.com/

    Lots of opposing voices, each added to the many who have already written in.

    It has been sent to the planning committee and the media lest they choose to dismiss the legitimate and logcial views of so many.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The trouble is that nobody has said that everyone is for it or everyone is against it. It has been clear for some time that there are a significant number for it and a significant number against it.

      The planning system is not a vote. They have to look at things in terms of the planning guidance. So, getting people worked up to write that they don't want it is pointless and gives the planning committee nothing to work with.

      There is only one real issue to deal with - can the increase in footfall generated by the larger scheme be accommodated without undue disruption? SMBC have been given evidence that says it can. There are two things you can do: show that the evidence is wrong (which does not mean saying "It is wrong, don't believe it" but giving factual reasons as to why it cannot be trusted) or producing your own evidence to the contrary that shows it is wrong, preferably backed up by someone with the relevant letters after their name. You've left that a bit late...

      In other words, running round with petitions is a waste of time that just gets everyone worked up and creates the idea that people are being ignored by the council just because they don't do what they've been petitioned to do when the Council have got to be able to justify why they are rejecting to Sainsbury's and if needs be the Planning Inspectorate.

      Delete
    2. I agree with this @11.01.

      Last time round DROVS raised money for a QCs opinion and a study of the TRICS/traffic data (if I remember correctly). You're talking £1000s of pounds. People can't afford to keep digging into their own pockets to fund that kind of evidence - or finding the time to raise those funds in the first place. Sainsbury's will, of course, be able to afford to come back and refute it ad infinitum.

      So perhaps what these people are actually writing about something else a sense of unfairness - that Mr Messon states that there is little opposition. Or the way DDRA are completely ignoring this development now. Or how Sainsbury's are (ab)using the planning system. It may not make any difference, but it's good that they have the right and the means to do so.


      Delete
    3. (That said, if it didn't matter at all, would Sainsbury's have written to their supporters and shareholders asking for support - they did that in 2009 and even handed out badges!)

      Delete
  22. Forget about Forest Courts current look, what people are forgetting is what would Forest Court look like in 5 years time if Sainsbury`s weren't developing it. No one shops in Forest Court because everyone would rather visit some trendy out of town shopping centre with designer labels.
    I grew up in Dorridge and I love the place, even if it is it more snobby now. I've seen Forest Court go through many changes over the past 50 years, and to be honest a supermarket like this is the only option. Unless you can convince GAP, Armani, YSL, Nike and all the other brands to develop Dorridge then Sainsbury`s is a good choice... unless you would rather have an ALDI or LIDL? Although that's fine because they are cheap as chips and means I have more disposable cash in my pocket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't need those sort of Touchwood-type brands in a place like Dorridge. You need a few boutiquey independents like a posh fishmonger/baker/coffee shop/deli anchored by a decent sized Sainsbury's local. Same sort of feel as The Forest.

      (Or maybe a music school, a flooring shop, a hardware place, a deli and an Italian restaurant - just not in a "past its sell by" 1960s greenhouse.)

      Delete
  23. I think you miss the point dorridge is generally not anti supermarket just anti oversized which this scheme most definitely is.

    ReplyDelete
  24. ..in your opinion. This is the problem - in some people's opinion the supermarket proposed is too big.As 11.01 said this won't wash with the council. I also agree with 8.22. You are not going to get decent stores into Forest Court even if it were completely renovated. It's just in the wrong place. Sainsbury's will probably be just ok - extra units for independents - well not sure there will be a massive take up - so many empty units everywhere - but certainly not having too many of them is for the best. Better doctor's surgery - well it needs it! Improvements to Station approach - good because those gable ends will continue to rot otherwise. So, to sum up, am expecting it to be and ok development. Can''t look any worse down there.

    ReplyDelete
  25. the new sainsburys has to big because of the new housing estate being built on four ashes road which will have local authority (council houses) and bought houses mixed in with each other sainsburys will cater for everybody and bring the communities together

    ReplyDelete
  26. Altogether now... "We all live in a Yellow Submarine"

    ReplyDelete
  27. Ok so it will bring the whole of dorridge together whether you live in social housing or a 6 bed 4 storey mansion, I still don't get where we will all park in order to use the village amenities or are we expecting the poor to come by donkey?

    ReplyDelete
  28. The poor will come by car with blacked out windows,loud music pumping ,or a nicer car borrowed without permission from their new rich neighbours!

    ReplyDelete