Work will start on new Waitrose store next month

A NEW supermarket and shopping mews development in Chipping Sodbury is gathering pace, the Gazette can reveal.

Waitrose has confirmed it will begin clearing the site around Barnhill Quarry, where a new supermarket is due to be built, as early as next month.

James Armstrong, property and development communications manager for Waitrose, told the Gazette: “Some initial works will commence in December including the vegetation clearance and site set up, but the significant start on the enabling works is going to be made in January 2013.

“The town centre car park will remain open in its entirety until after Christmas.”

The long-awaited arrival of the supermarket comes after developer Chelverton Deeley Freed won full planning permission to build a 21,000sw ft food store on Barnhill Quarry, along with 160 houses, in August.

The company also has permission to create a mews of four new retail units at the back of the former Lanes hardware store and a bridge over the River Frome linking the High Street with the supermarket.

It has now been revealed the shopping precinct, which is yet to be named, will also include a covered market area to be used for various events.

In another development, the Gazette can also reveal that the vacant hardware shop which was bought by Chelverton Deeley Freed is to be extensively refurbished and will reopen as a coffee shop shortly.

Cardiff-based Coffee#1 confirmed it is hoping to open in Chipping Sodbury in early January. But spokeswoman Holly Marjoram said there was a possibility the opening date could even be brought forward to before Christmas.

She added: “Coffee#1 opened its first store on Wood Street, Cardiff in 2001. We now have 26 coffee shops sprinkled across South Wales and South West England.

“We’ve picked up two BSA awards along the way and won the title Best UK Coffee Chain in the Cafe Society Awards) the past four years in a row.”

Mark Lloyd, chairman of Sodbury Chamber of Commerce, said: “This development is going to change the face of Chipping Sodbury forever.

“Lanes has been closed for four years and without this development no-one would have the sort of money it needed spending on it and the building would have just imploded.

“This will be the saviour of Chipping Sodbury in ensuring our future is bright.”

Comments (5)

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12:23am Sat 17 Nov 12

Chipping Resident says...

Mr. Lloyd's comments are a fine illustration of the nonsense that's been typical of the pro-Waitrose lobby. Opening with that most overused of cliches "change... forever," Mr. Lloyd has reiterated this ridiculous image of Chipping being a dying town that can be saved only by the construction of somewhere else to shop. A poor show for the Chamber of Commerce when its chairman sees growth as the result of consumption rather than production, and is happy for local businesses to go bust just so that revenue can by drained out of Chipping to John Lewis, property developers, mortgage lenders etc. Perhaps Mr. Lloyd has a more national or corporate remit in his rambling.

With Yate Tesco now larger than any civic or religious building for miles around -- and looking quite ridiculous -- the area is about to be burdened with its 4th supermarket albeit one that caters for those who insist their vanilla be Madagascan. And lucky for Lanes that they moved out before their shop "just imploded".

Mr. Lloyd is correct, however, in saying that Chipping certainly will feel the impact of Waitrose... when it creates further traffic congestion, more parking problems, more road accidents, the need for new roads and road management schemes, and possibly complaints (and hopefully lawsuits) from housebuyers who experience subsidence when the unproven quarry infill doesn't quite come up to scratch. And I wonder if Mr. Lloyd and his ilk will still be reciting the "footfall" mantra, if as many local shops are put out of business here as they were in Thornbury when new supermarkets opened there.

With the low turnout at this week's local PCC elections, media pundits are questioning people's interest in democracy. Yet the consultation on the Waitrose scheme consistently generated negative comments, there was negative feedback at local council meetings, a local vote returned that the majority did NOT want the Waitrose development and yet this has all been ignored and the development has gone ahead. That's how democracy works...

The people who are able to shape the future of Chipping Sodbury seem least fit to do it.
Mr. Lloyd's comments are a fine illustration of the nonsense that's been typical of the pro-Waitrose lobby. Opening with that most overused of cliches "change... forever," Mr. Lloyd has reiterated this ridiculous image of Chipping being a dying town that can be saved only by the construction of somewhere else to shop. A poor show for the Chamber of Commerce when its chairman sees growth as the result of consumption rather than production, and is happy for local businesses to go bust just so that revenue can by drained out of Chipping to John Lewis, property developers, mortgage lenders etc. Perhaps Mr. Lloyd has a more national or corporate remit in his rambling. With Yate Tesco now larger than any civic or religious building for miles around -- and looking quite ridiculous -- the area is about to be burdened with its 4th supermarket albeit one that caters for those who insist their vanilla be Madagascan. And lucky for Lanes that they moved out before their shop "just imploded". Mr. Lloyd is correct, however, in saying that Chipping certainly will feel the impact of Waitrose... when it creates further traffic congestion, more parking problems, more road accidents, the need for new roads and road management schemes, and possibly complaints (and hopefully lawsuits) from housebuyers who experience subsidence when the unproven quarry infill doesn't quite come up to scratch. And I wonder if Mr. Lloyd and his ilk will still be reciting the "footfall" mantra, if as many local shops are put out of business here as they were in Thornbury when new supermarkets opened there. With the low turnout at this week's local PCC elections, media pundits are questioning people's interest in democracy. Yet the consultation on the Waitrose scheme consistently generated negative comments, there was negative feedback at local council meetings, a local vote returned that the majority did NOT want the Waitrose development and yet this has all been ignored and the development has gone ahead. That's how democracy works... The people who are able to shape the future of Chipping Sodbury seem least fit to do it. Chipping Resident

12:15pm Wed 21 Nov 12

markll says...

It is not true to say that the majority of people in the town are against Waitrose and I would challenge the person who wrote this comment to provide hard data on this claim. Rather than complaining about change, why not embrace it?

It is true that the store will have an impact on the Town, but again why not work with this in a positive way rather than make unsubstantiated claims about businesses going bust?

The Chamber are working on numerous initiatives which the vast majority of people in Sodbury support and welcome. We are working with the businesses here to provide a vibrant and successful environment for all.

We appreciate that not everyone welcomes change and that some would prefer to live in the past, we are not able to do this as we have to do everything we can to ensure that our businesses stay afloat.

I would suggest that if you are concerned about the effect Waitrose will have on Sodbury, you do what I did and conduct extensive research into the likely effects and then make a rational and considered decision on the likely outcome.

Continuing to make negative comments based on nothing more than your own personal view is damaging to our town and is not supporting your local High Street.

Mark Lloyd
Chair
Sodbury Chamber of Commerce
It is not true to say that the majority of people in the town are against Waitrose and I would challenge the person who wrote this comment to provide hard data on this claim. Rather than complaining about change, why not embrace it? It is true that the store will have an impact on the Town, but again why not work with this in a positive way rather than make unsubstantiated claims about businesses going bust? The Chamber are working on numerous initiatives which the vast majority of people in Sodbury support and welcome. We are working with the businesses here to provide a vibrant and successful environment for all. We appreciate that not everyone welcomes change and that some would prefer to live in the past, we are not able to do this as we have to do everything we can to ensure that our businesses stay afloat. I would suggest that if you are concerned about the effect Waitrose will have on Sodbury, you do what I did and conduct extensive research into the likely effects and then make a rational and considered decision on the likely outcome. Continuing to make negative comments based on nothing more than your own personal view is damaging to our town and is not supporting your local High Street. Mark Lloyd Chair Sodbury Chamber of Commerce markll

12:52pm Thu 22 Nov 12

DandoGR says...

Dear Mr Lloyd

You don't answer any of Chipping Resident's comments; you just dismiss them with insults saying (s)he's living in the past, negative, afraid of change and irrational. You'd make a good MP.

Hard data for the majority against change came in the town council vote, which came out as "no". As for "irrational", how can Chipping Resident "substantiate" the fact that businesses will go bust when Waitrose hasn't been built yet? Logic ain't your strong point, is it?

I attended all the consultation and council meetings and many local storeholders were vocally anti the schere. Time will tell, but if businesses do go bust no doubt you'll blame it on the economic climate, the weather or anything but take some responsibility yourself.

I also am anti the scheme and I do support the local high street by shopping at Ian's, Artingstall's, Martin's, Hobbes -- which is more than will be said for people rolling up from Hawkesbury and Badminton in their SUVs to do the weekly shop at Waitrose -- whose money will go to John Lewis.

Politicians like to use the word "change" as if it automatically means something "good", and you just seem to be copying them. Change can have negative as well as positive outcomes -- or don't you understand that? These outcomes will happen whether people cheerlead them or not. I totally agree with Chipping Resident. It's not his/her comments that are going to permanently alter the face of Chipping for the worst, it's badly conceived developments like this one.

The developers, banks and John Lewis will all do very well out of this. But if, like Chipping Resident says, traffic gets worse and shops go bust, it will be too late to reverse the process and I suspect you won't be back here admitting you're wrong.

You keep referring to your "studies". I read all the consultation files on the council web site and some of them were rubbish -- including a claim that there would be no increased car emissions in the area (even though the number of car spaces were being increased but some with a 2 hour time limit - i.e. more turnover of vehicles), and even one comment that, like Chipping Resident says, the quarry landfill was unproven. I'm buddies with a council member at Thornbury and he says it took ages for the town to recover from the supermarkets, just like Broadmead had to from Cribbs Causeway.

This is not about living in the past, it's about making right decisions for the future. I share Chipping Resident's "personal view" that all those who approved this scheme aren't fit for purpose. You suggest Chipping Resident should do some research. Well, I would ask any residents reading this, post-Waitrose, to send Mr. Lloyd a letter of data each time a shop closes or when Wickwar Road and St. John's Way gets congested.

One final thing, no study ever demonstrated, no metrics given, that Chipping Sodbury had a problem in the first place. This is a "solution" to a non-existent problem. The decision to build Waitrose was made and then exaggerated reasons found to justify it. Whatever the reasons are behind this project, it's not to "save" one of the region's jewels which, post-Waitrose, is sure to lose a considerable part of its charm and character. And even if Chipping were in trouble, is the best you can think of yet another supermarket?

I share Chipping Resident's personal view - not that it will change anything with a Chamber of Commerce like this claming to speak for the community.
Dear Mr Lloyd You don't answer any of Chipping Resident's comments; you just dismiss them with insults saying (s)he's living in the past, negative, afraid of change and irrational. You'd make a good MP. Hard data for the majority against change came in the town council vote, which came out as "no". As for "irrational", how can Chipping Resident "substantiate" the fact that businesses will go bust when Waitrose hasn't been built yet? Logic ain't your strong point, is it? I attended all the consultation and council meetings and many local storeholders were vocally anti the schere. Time will tell, but if businesses do go bust no doubt you'll blame it on the economic climate, the weather or anything but take some responsibility yourself. I also am anti the scheme and I do support the local high street by shopping at Ian's, Artingstall's, Martin's, Hobbes -- which is more than will be said for people rolling up from Hawkesbury and Badminton in their SUVs to do the weekly shop at Waitrose -- whose money will go to John Lewis. Politicians like to use the word "change" as if it automatically means something "good", and you just seem to be copying them. Change can have negative as well as positive outcomes -- or don't you understand that? These outcomes will happen whether people cheerlead them or not. I totally agree with Chipping Resident. It's not his/her comments that are going to permanently alter the face of Chipping for the worst, it's badly conceived developments like this one. The developers, banks and John Lewis will all do very well out of this. But if, like Chipping Resident says, traffic gets worse and shops go bust, it will be too late to reverse the process and I suspect you won't be back here admitting you're wrong. You keep referring to your "studies". I read all the consultation files on the council web site and some of them were rubbish -- including a claim that there would be no increased car emissions in the area (even though the number of car spaces were being increased but some with a 2 hour time limit - i.e. more turnover of vehicles), and even one comment that, like Chipping Resident says, the quarry landfill was unproven. I'm buddies with a council member at Thornbury and he says it took ages for the town to recover from the supermarkets, just like Broadmead had to from Cribbs Causeway. This is not about living in the past, it's about making right decisions for the future. I share Chipping Resident's "personal view" that all those who approved this scheme aren't fit for purpose. You suggest Chipping Resident should do some research. Well, I would ask any residents reading this, post-Waitrose, to send Mr. Lloyd a letter of data each time a shop closes or when Wickwar Road and St. John's Way gets congested. One final thing, no study ever demonstrated, no metrics given, that Chipping Sodbury had a problem in the first place. This is a "solution" to a non-existent problem. The decision to build Waitrose was made and then exaggerated reasons found to justify it. Whatever the reasons are behind this project, it's not to "save" one of the region's jewels which, post-Waitrose, is sure to lose a considerable part of its charm and character. And even if Chipping were in trouble, is the best you can think of yet another supermarket? I share Chipping Resident's personal view - not that it will change anything with a Chamber of Commerce like this claming to speak for the community. DandoGR

5:17pm Thu 22 Nov 12

markll says...

Dear Mr/Mrs Dando

I thought I should address some of the comments you have made as clearly you have a very dim view of me personally and the Chamber of Commerce.

I see very little point in continuing to argue over a decision that has already been made. The Chamber supported the Waitrose Development unanimously and I personally spoke to as many businesses in the Town before the final planning meeting to understand their viewpoint. Over 100 businesses signed a petition supporting the development.

I understand that a handful of businesses are fearful and although independent studies clearly indicate that a Waitrose store will have a positive effect of course it is not possible for anyone to accurately predict what will actually happen when the store opens. I have to say though that there is overwhelming (independent) evidence that the store will have a positive impact. As a Chamber we have a duty to support the majority of businesses.

I also undertook my own personal research and studied the effect that the store had on other towns similar to Sodbury. I also spoke with other Chambers and other business people in locations across the UK.

The Yorkshire Tourist Authority commissioned an Independent review of all Market Towns and the study resulted in overwhelming support for the introduction of short term parking to ensure a high turnover of footfall. This results in a fairer system for residents, visitors and businesses and is proven to work.

We appreciate that people visiting from outside of Sodbury will do so with the intention of shopping at Waitrose and may well not shop in the main High Street, unless of course we have something unique to offer. You will be pleased to know that the businesses here do feel they are unique.

Three years ago we decided to promote Sodbury as a place to visit, to shop in and to set up business in. This is one of the main duties of any Chamber. Our Award winning 'Shop Local, Shop Sodbury' campaign has been at the core of all our efforts to make the High Street a vibrant and successful location. Our work is far from done but we recognise that once Waitrose opens the High Street must be an attraction for shoppers visiting Waitrose. Our campaign has included Food Festivals, Concerts, The Sodbury Jazz Festival, Sodbury Farmers Market, the Chipping Sodbury Calendar, the WOW Gorilla Bristol Zoo project and working with St John's Church on the Crib Festival.

We are continuing to support all local businesses at a time when the economy makes it a very difficult trading environment. It is important for all of us to work together to ensure that we all stay in business.

The Chamber works closely with the business community and it is a shame that you feel we do not represent the community. I think you will find that if you speak to the businesses here and many of the families living here you will find that the majority support the Chamber's efforts and also support the Waitrose store.

If you revisit the public consultancy conducted by the council only 800 or so of the towns 5500 population voted on Waitrose. The vote was fairly evenly split so it is not correct to say that a majority of the town were against the store. If you think about it, the majority of people who objected attended the public meetings, not people in favour. This gave the impression that there were a majority against but this simply isn't true, it is just an argument used by objectors to try and prove their point.

You say that I would make a good MP but you should know that I personally do not feel that politics has any place in a town such as Sodbury. Politics often delays or even stops decisions being made and this costs the taxpayer dearly. When decisions are made they are often for political reasons and not for the good of the town. There are numerous examples of this in our Town.

I would ask that if you do reply you make your comments less personal and insulting, there is no need to resort to this just to try and make your point, it rather lessens your argument.
Dear Mr/Mrs Dando I thought I should address some of the comments you have made as clearly you have a very dim view of me personally and the Chamber of Commerce. I see very little point in continuing to argue over a decision that has already been made. The Chamber supported the Waitrose Development unanimously and I personally spoke to as many businesses in the Town before the final planning meeting to understand their viewpoint. Over 100 businesses signed a petition supporting the development. I understand that a handful of businesses are fearful and although independent studies clearly indicate that a Waitrose store will have a positive effect of course it is not possible for anyone to accurately predict what will actually happen when the store opens. I have to say though that there is overwhelming (independent) evidence that the store will have a positive impact. As a Chamber we have a duty to support the majority of businesses. I also undertook my own personal research and studied the effect that the store had on other towns similar to Sodbury. I also spoke with other Chambers and other business people in locations across the UK. The Yorkshire Tourist Authority commissioned an Independent review of all Market Towns and the study resulted in overwhelming support for the introduction of short term parking to ensure a high turnover of footfall. This results in a fairer system for residents, visitors and businesses and is proven to work. We appreciate that people visiting from outside of Sodbury will do so with the intention of shopping at Waitrose and may well not shop in the main High Street, unless of course we have something unique to offer. You will be pleased to know that the businesses here do feel they are unique. Three years ago we decided to promote Sodbury as a place to visit, to shop in and to set up business in. This is one of the main duties of any Chamber. Our Award winning 'Shop Local, Shop Sodbury' campaign has been at the core of all our efforts to make the High Street a vibrant and successful location. Our work is far from done but we recognise that once Waitrose opens the High Street must be an attraction for shoppers visiting Waitrose. Our campaign has included Food Festivals, Concerts, The Sodbury Jazz Festival, Sodbury Farmers Market, the Chipping Sodbury Calendar, the WOW Gorilla Bristol Zoo project and working with St John's Church on the Crib Festival. We are continuing to support all local businesses at a time when the economy makes it a very difficult trading environment. It is important for all of us to work together to ensure that we all stay in business. The Chamber works closely with the business community and it is a shame that you feel we do not represent the community. I think you will find that if you speak to the businesses here and many of the families living here you will find that the majority support the Chamber's efforts and also support the Waitrose store. If you revisit the public consultancy conducted by the council only 800 or so of the towns 5500 population voted on Waitrose. The vote was fairly evenly split so it is not correct to say that a majority of the town were against the store. If you think about it, the majority of people who objected attended the public meetings, not people in favour. This gave the impression that there were a majority against but this simply isn't true, it is just an argument used by objectors to try and prove their point. You say that I would make a good MP but you should know that I personally do not feel that politics has any place in a town such as Sodbury. Politics often delays or even stops decisions being made and this costs the taxpayer dearly. When decisions are made they are often for political reasons and not for the good of the town. There are numerous examples of this in our Town. I would ask that if you do reply you make your comments less personal and insulting, there is no need to resort to this just to try and make your point, it rather lessens your argument. markll

11:03pm Thu 22 Nov 12

DandoGR says...

Dear Mr. Lloyd

I thought your repeated digs at Chipping Resident was insulting so I gave you a taste of your own medicine. However, being an adult I'm happy to focus on issues provided you do.

Just because you didn't like the result of the public vote doesn't make the result invalid; that's not how our democracy works. The majority of voters voted against. If an MP loses a vote he has to abide by it regardless of how close the split was or how low the turnout was. It's all too easy to say "the angry brigade" (whoever they are) turned out to meetings etc. but you can not unequivocally claim support of people who didn't attend the meetings and didn't vote. And why hold a vote if you're going to ignore the result? Either way, the only public record shows that the majority are against.

I find your comments that you consulted local businesses baffling; either that or the shopowners are saying different things to different people. I also don't understand why you say I should speak to locals to find out what they "really think". I am a local. I talk to local people in town and in shops and pubs all the time. Yes, there are supporters of the Waitrose scheme - though many of those same people don't want the houses sweetened by the Waitrose pill. Mostly they just see Waitrose as a posh (sorry, aspirational) place to shop (you wouldn't have found many takers for a Lidl). But many other people don't want it at all - you seem to have missed these on your rounds. And even the people who do want it soon change their minds the moment you paint a picture of congestion and half the high street gone or entirely converted to estate agents, charity shops, cafes and bookies.

You repeatedly say there is overwhelming evidence for the benefit of schemes like this but there's also masses of evidence to the contrary: The Scottish Federation of Small Businesses 2006 report, "The Effect Of Supermarkets on Existing Retailers"; the House of Commons All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group report "High Street Britain 2015". Even a 1998 report (funded by supermarkets) by the British Retail Planning Forum found that each time a supermarket opened, 276 local jobs were lost. Other studies have been done showing that of, for example, £10 spent in a local independent store, more stays in the local region than that same £10 spent in a supermarket. These are just the tip of the iceberg. I agree that vested organisations like CABE and KPMG argue in favour of supermarket led developments, but the picture is not all one-sided as you keep saying. And, I note that you consider footfall higher priority than environmental issues.

In fairness many of the local initiatives you mention (jazz festival etc.) are to the town's credit (though their promotion leaves something to be desired) and I would rather see more of this truly local thinking, than a big-money scheme that's going to deface the town. Who in their right mind puts a supermarket near a graveyard?

You're right to say it's pointless to argue over a done deal. But I agree with Chipping Resident that it was pointless to argue before the deal was done. This project was always going to be signed off. The consultation and vote was just PR and due part of the process of rubber-stamping the approval. The people who didn't want the scheme weren't listened to, they didn't have any community representatives support them, they were just dismissed as "naysayers" as if their views simply didn't matter or (as you accused Chipping Resident of being) irrational. So all those who support the scheme are rational, positive good people and all those against are just irrational moaners stuck in the past. When you lose the argument, attack the arguer.

Well, let's wait to see how things go until 12 months after Waitrose has been here. If it's a roaring success, I'll happily eat humble pie. But if Chipping does hit a number of problems, places go bust and we start getting traffic lights and traffic management on Wickwar Road I'll look forward to your comments.
Dear Mr. Lloyd I thought your repeated digs at Chipping Resident was insulting so I gave you a taste of your own medicine. However, being an adult I'm happy to focus on issues provided you do. Just because you didn't like the result of the public vote doesn't make the result invalid; that's not how our democracy works. The majority of voters voted against. If an MP loses a vote he has to abide by it regardless of how close the split was or how low the turnout was. It's all too easy to say "the angry brigade" (whoever they are) turned out to meetings etc. but you can not unequivocally claim support of people who didn't attend the meetings and didn't vote. And why hold a vote if you're going to ignore the result? Either way, the only public record shows that the majority are against. I find your comments that you consulted local businesses baffling; either that or the shopowners are saying different things to different people. I also don't understand why you say I should speak to locals to find out what they "really think". I am a local. I talk to local people in town and in shops and pubs all the time. Yes, there are supporters of the Waitrose scheme - though many of those same people don't want the houses sweetened by the Waitrose pill. Mostly they just see Waitrose as a posh (sorry, aspirational) place to shop (you wouldn't have found many takers for a Lidl). But many other people don't want it at all - you seem to have missed these on your rounds. And even the people who do want it soon change their minds the moment you paint a picture of congestion and half the high street gone or entirely converted to estate agents, charity shops, cafes and bookies. You repeatedly say there is overwhelming evidence for the benefit of schemes like this but there's also masses of evidence to the contrary: The Scottish Federation of Small Businesses 2006 report, "The Effect Of Supermarkets on Existing Retailers"; the House of Commons All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group report "High Street Britain 2015". Even a 1998 report (funded by supermarkets) by the British Retail Planning Forum found that each time a supermarket opened, 276 local jobs were lost. Other studies have been done showing that of, for example, £10 spent in a local independent store, more stays in the local region than that same £10 spent in a supermarket. These are just the tip of the iceberg. I agree that vested organisations like CABE and KPMG argue in favour of supermarket led developments, but the picture is not all one-sided as you keep saying. And, I note that you consider footfall higher priority than environmental issues. In fairness many of the local initiatives you mention (jazz festival etc.) are to the town's credit (though their promotion leaves something to be desired) and I would rather see more of this truly local thinking, than a big-money scheme that's going to deface the town. Who in their right mind puts a supermarket near a graveyard? You're right to say it's pointless to argue over a done deal. But I agree with Chipping Resident that it was pointless to argue before the deal was done. This project was always going to be signed off. The consultation and vote was just PR and due part of the process of rubber-stamping the approval. The people who didn't want the scheme weren't listened to, they didn't have any community representatives support them, they were just dismissed as "naysayers" as if their views simply didn't matter or (as you accused Chipping Resident of being) irrational. So all those who support the scheme are rational, positive good people and all those against are just irrational moaners stuck in the past. When you lose the argument, attack the arguer. Well, let's wait to see how things go until 12 months after Waitrose has been here. If it's a roaring success, I'll happily eat humble pie. But if Chipping does hit a number of problems, places go bust and we start getting traffic lights and traffic management on Wickwar Road I'll look forward to your comments. DandoGR

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