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Friday, 19 September 2014

Ulverston supermarket bid suffers new blow

ANOTHER major blow has been dealt to Sainsbury’s plans to build an Ulverston supermarket.

Meanwhile, a rival application for a different site has been updated and resubmitted.

The revised proposal for a store at the former Robinsons brewery site was received by South Lakeland District Council yesterday.

The proposals for a 19,000 sq ft supermarket in Brewery Street also allow for improvements to the town centre, including the renovation of the Brewery Street and Buxton Place car parks.

The new application submission follows a newly published independent retail study, which calls on the council to support Robinsons over an out-of-town Sainsbury’s.

The report, written by Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners at the request of SLDC, claims the town is only big enough for one of the supermarkets to emerge.

It questions some of the findings presented in Sainsbury’s own retail impact assessment and claims the proposed store’s food offering “outstrips considerably” the town’s capacity to accommodate it.

The report says: “The proposed development is heavily reliant upon a claw-back of expenditure from foodstores outside of the Ulverston area.”

It also claims the location of the proposed Robinsons site makes it sequentially preferable.

The report adds: “The council has to consider whether there is reasonable justification for it, concluding that the Brewery Street site has the potential to be a suitable alternative to the proposed Sainsbury’s development.”

Importantly, it adds, it is up to Sainsbury’s to prove there are no suitable and viable alternatives closer to the centre of town if it is to be successful, something the report says Sainsbury’s has failed to do adequately.

Meanwhile, the new application from Robinsons includes a number of minor, largely cosmetic, alterations from the plans that went on display at the Coronation Hall in November.

The application states: “The development proposes intensive and appropriate use of a vacant, brownfield, edge-of-centre site.

“In addition to its proximity to the main shopping area, the site has good and varied transport links to the urban and rural catchment areas.

“The site is sequentially preferable for the proposed end use and will therefore help to resist pressure for out-of-centre development which would be damaging to the character and vitality of the town’s retail centre.”

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