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Questions remain over Morrisons' store plan
10:00am Wednesday 17th October 2012 in Letters
Sir – I have read the district council’s planning report to Monday’s meeting of the lowlands planning sub-committee on Morrisons’ application for a supermarket in Carterton.
The previous Sainsbury’s application was refused principally over fears of reduced town centre trade.
How will a town centre supermarket encourage trade in surrounding shops? I separate essential shopping from ‘retail leisure’. Following a major food shop, I wouldn’t hang around to browse in adjacent stores. Am I alone?
The report states that the town and district councils hold an aspiration that development of the south-west quadrant of the town centre would be a catalyst to improve the “overall shopping offer”.
However, the applicant is unwilling to make an application covering a wider scheme or show how the store may facilitate future development.
The report actually states that neither the position of the store nor its comprehensive nature (its size, I presume) drive town centre improvement and there’s a danger that this proposal could act as a counter-attraction to the town centre.
I agree. It seems odd then to leave it to chance that this store might miraculously lead to regeneration. Surely, hard evidence is needed to pass the essential sustainability test?
Admittedly, Section 106 money will pay to relocate the market near the town hall but it could equally sit alongside a more creative development on the Morrisons site. The store will bring jobs but some may be lost if others like the Co-op close.
What then was the justification for refusing Sainsbury’s and recommending Morrisons for approval?
A general desire for something big to finally happen in Carterton isn’t enough.
Why be so lenient with an application of such significance? Morrisons seems to be calling the shots. Once built, the store will restrict further development and any damage will be irreversible.
Given a choice, would the majority have preferred Sainsbury’s on the periphery, with space for other units, to this disproportionate behemoth in the centre?
Justine Garbutt, Alvescot Road, Alvescot