TRADERS in Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell have vowed to boycott a new Sainsbury’s Local store which South Gloucestershire Council has awarded planning permission, despite repeated warnings it will kill the villages.
Independent shopkeepers on Woodend Road and Lower Stone Close pleaded with the council’s development control east committee to refuse plans for 2 ?? square metre convenience store on the car park at the Badminton Arms on Badminton Road.
Edwina Pennell, who has run the Nisa shop on Woodend Road for 24 years, told councillors: “This is probably the most important application this area has ever seen.
“The decision you make could change the face of our village forever and affects businesses which have taken many years to build up by people who care about their customers and support local charities and school not their stakeholders.
“It will destroy the vitality of our shopping area and cause chaos on Badminton Road.
“If you allow Sainsbury’s into our village it will damage us beyond repair.”
Kath Aldom, founder of disabled adult’s charity Paul’s Place based in Coalpit Heath, said: “Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell have been very lucky up until now but these big multiples shouldn’t be allowed to do these things.
“Our local shops take my members as volunteers, they take our collection tins and make sure our members are safe. That wouldn’t happen with a Sainsbury’s, they will look after their profit and that is fine but not here.”
She added: “The only thing that is important in our communities is people and we have forgotten that. We need to get back to looking after each other and big multiples won’t do that.”
Questions were raised over the integrity of a retail impact study, carried out by applicants Box Property Group, which stated the store would not harm the viability of local shops.
Ward member councillor Dave Hockey (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) made an SOS appeal to committee members to ‘save our shops’.
He said: “Your conclusion has to be that the introduction of a Sainsbury’s will harm the vitality and viability of our village.”
But Owen Francis, agent for Box, said convenience shopping was currently being lost by people travelling outside of the area and a Sainsbury’s Local would help secure the future of the village pub.
“This will help increase activity, the fall back option is to convert the pub into a convenience store,” he said. “It will also help claw back trade currently being lost to the local area.”
Cllr Alan Lawrance (Lib Dem, Dodington) said: We have to get this into perspective. It may be large in comparison to other local stores but this is not a large store.
“When Tesco in Yate was built everyone said it will be the downfall of all the other shops but in fact there is evidence it has increased footfall.
“There is a danger we can be fearful of the impact.”
Planning officer Simon Penketh admitted that the store would be considered an out of town development as it did not fall into the council’s defined village centre of Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell and Cllr Pat Hockey (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) recommended the plans were refused because it would impact too severely on the commercial centre of the villages. The vote was lost with three in favour, seven against and three abstentions.
Cllr Lawrance’s motion to approve the plan was the won on a vote of seven in favour, three against and three abstentions.
After the meeting, Mrs Aldom said local people would not use the store and would protest at the start of development work.
Mrs Pennell told the Gazette: “I am completely devastated. They didn’t listen to us, we have told them how much this will damage us.”