Sainsbury's blasted over "ridiculous" paperwork for Ulverston store plans
Last updated at 16:11, Sunday, 14 October 2012
A “RIDICULOUS” amount of paperwork is preventing objections to controversial supermarket plans for Ulverston, campaigners say.
A two-foot high pile of documents submitted to South Lakeland District Council supporting the planned Sainsbury’s has reached the town council. Group Keep Ulverston Special says the volume of papers makes the timescale for responding to the application “outrageous”.
Campaigners claim the mountain of documents is a deliberate bidby Sainsbury’s to stop people objecting by overloading them.
Town councillor and chairman of the group, Colin Pickthall, said: “Everybody is entitled to put in an objection or complaint and we have three weeks to respond to it – it’s impossible. It is like reading War and Peace twice and having to make notes and analyse it.”
He said there are almost 2,000 pages of information to go through, meaning the average resident has not got time to form a reasoned response.
The official consultation period started on October 8 and ends on November 7. He added: “Their clear intention is simply to swamp us all with masses of extraneous information, buried deep in which will be the real horrors.
“This is all quite deliberate. It is an attempt to steamroller the application through by removing the debate from the capacities of ordinary citizens who have views to express.
“Clearly Sainsbury’s regards Ulverston as a timid little backwater which can be brow-beaten into submission.”
SLDC has put back the consultation deadline by two days to allow Ulverston Town Council to discuss the plans, but Cllr Pickthall says more time is needed.
He said: “It is going to take three weeks just to read, never mind to come up with my reasoned response. Councillors are expected to make decisions on this at a town and district level. They cannot be expected to read it all.”
He says he plans to write to Furness MP John Woodcock and to the government to alert them to a planning process he says is “a clear attack on proper democratic process and on the principles of localism”.
Jo Hawley, regional development executive for Sainsbury’s, said: “The amount of information required in a planning application is set by the government and the local council and not by the applicant.
“Therefore, Sainsbury’s has only provided the information it has been told to provide. This includes consultation with the community, statutory consultees and South Lakeland District Council and of how the issues raised have been addressed. The council has confirmed that all of the documentation is in order.”
First published at 16:31, Friday, 12 October 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
Hi Jane, well I suppose the level of public support will become clear over the next few weeks and I look forward to seeing how our councillors vote if a very clear majority want this development to take place.
I take your point that the Retail Impast Assessment and the Socio Economic Study could be biased but these will be reviewed by SLDC planners and their advisors and I look forward to the response of our councillors if SLDC are satisfied with those reports. I am afraid you are wrong with regards to the deliverability and viability of this site for economic development/business park. Land values for such uses are too low in our area to justify the infrastructure costs for a site such as this. There are many examples including Daltongate Business Centre which only happened with grant funding. As I have already mentioned the latest SLDC Economic Land Report states that a higher value use will be required to deliver this site and as you have said 'why take the trouble to do studies and develop plans only to ignore them?'
Bill, town council candidates couldn't possibly make known their views on individual supermarket proposals before they'd even been submitted. Many candidates, including myself, made very clear their commitment to help preserve a local economy and to oppose anything that appeared to be detrimental to the economic vitality of the town. Colin Pickthall was a well known opponent of the original Robinson's proposal before his election. As a council we are trying to do things that are within our power to improve the town centre. We can do our best to represent the views of the town, but in this case opinion is deeply divided (whose views exactly should we represent?) and in any event we have to look at the planning issues, as I've already said.
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