Friday, 11 February 2011
Stocktaking Time for Sainsburys
The latest plans for a Megastore at Ashton Gate, even with the advantage of being treated as an enabling development for a new green belt stadium, have taken another blow.
This time it's the council appointed independent retail consultants, GVA Grimley, who are advising their clients (us) that Sainsburys claims' for retail impact are specious. They conclude:
"It the Council reaches the view that there are one or more significant adverse impacts, then the application should be refused under Policy EC17.1 of PPS4, with no need to take into account any of the other material planning considerations surrounding the scheme."
"...it is our view that the negative impacts of the proposal outweigh any positive benefits which may accrue. In reaching this view we have given particular weight to the financial impact of the proposal and its adverse effect upon the vitality and viability of both defined centres in Bedminster. We recommend that this conclusion is taken in account by the Council as it considers and balances the positive and negative impacts of the proposal as a whole."
Add to that the very persuasive evidence that their claims of job creation are fictitious, that their transport predictions are nonsense and a few other exploded myths, and it's hard to see how the planning application (to be considered on March 2nd, 6pm) can possibly succeed.
Far more likely that Sainsburys will drop this latest application and go back to appealing against the same committee turning down their previous application. Although, of course, they claim that the current scheme is better than the previous one - and that must mean that the previous one was worse than the current one.
Either way, the whole stadium project is a mess. I know Sainsburys don't give up easily - for years they've been pouring money into Southend United to keep it solvent, given the security of its big assets - the Roots Hall ground where they want an Ashton Gate megastore equivalent, and land with planning permission for an out of town retail park to boot.
Still, I can't see myself getting the opportunity to pedal off down a new South Bristol Ring Road Cyclepath to Ashton Vale to watch the match or to pick up Nectar points and orange bags. Which is probably a Good Thing.