Traders could win store war
PLANNING officers have advised councillors to throw out plans to build a supermarket on the site of an old Leamington pub.
Hundreds of people have signed a petition against the proposal to build a 2,368sq ft Sainsbury’s Local on the site of The Oak Inn at the junction of Radford Road and Willes Road.
The decision will go before a Warwick District Council planning committee at Leamington town hall on Tuesday evening.
But officers are concerned about the lack of car parking provision included in the plan, with the proposal to provide 14 spaces being less than half of the council’s requirement of 31 for developments of a food store of this size.
They have also said the position of the proposed entrance, which would open out directly onto the car park, would cause a safety risk for customers.
When it submitted its application in August, Sainsbury’s regional acquisitions manager Patrick Joyce said: “We have been encouraged by the positive comments and support we have received for following our consultation.
“The store will bring further choice to residents looking to top up their shopping locally as well as regenerating a derelict site.
“We’ve worked hard with the council to address concerns and ensure the store fits well with the local area.”
People living nearby have signed petitions and have objected to the plan on grounds it is contrary to planning policy, would affect pedestrian safety, cause traffic and parking problems, and that it would put smaller shops in Old Town out of business.
Narinderpal ‘Nicky’ Rai, who runs the family-owned Rai Supermarket opposite the pub site, has said: “It seems an unscrupulous attempt by Sainsbury’s to take over the grocery trade.”
“These big supermarket chains think they can take people’s lives away. I could see us closing within two or three months.
“Many customers have come in saying they don’t need a Sainsbury’s because of all the convenience stores in the area and big supermarkets within easy distance.”
Shopkeepers also face uncertainty in Milverton with news of plans to demolish the Total petrol station in Rugby Road and replace it with a convenience store, which planners have been told could be another Sainsbury’s local.
A report on the planning meeting and the committee’s decision will be published online and in next Friday’s Courier.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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