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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Ulverston supermarket war nears conclusion

TIME is running out for residents to have their say on the two competing proposals for a supermarket in Ulverston.
Sainsbury’s and Robinsons both have proposals in for consideration and a decision could be made by the end of next month.
The Keep Ulverston Special group has been leading the charge for those in opposition.
But there are many who support the idea of a new supermarket – and more choice – in the town.
There is a chance the two applications could be decided on the same day. But with planners inundated with letters, both supporting and criticising the plans, many residents are still on the fence about whether the town needs another supermarket at all.
As the clock ticks down towards a decision that could have wide-reaching implications for Ulverston, reporter PAUL BERENTZEN takes a look at the two proposals and what they mean for the town.

Ulverston Sainsbury’s plan divides opinion

THE controversial application to build a Sainsbury’s in Ulverston has split opinion in the town.

Council planning officers have been inundated with letters commenting on the plans for a new supermarket – both for and against.

South Lakeland District Council continues to receive a high volume of responses to the plans, months after they were first submitted.

The proposals date back to June 2011 when the supermarket giant emerged as a potential rival to plans to build a store at the former Robinsons brewery site in Brewery Street.

Following a public consultation process, Sainsbury’s submitted a planning application for the site at the Beehive, just off the A590.

Objections to the store – much the same as the calls to reject the Robinsons plans – are based on a number of concerns, ranging from flooding issues to town centre vitality.

Ceri Hutton wrote: “This development will be disastrous for the town, undermine its vitality, remove – not create – jobs and result in Ulverston losing its unique selling point of independent shopping.

“In addition, the flooding and drainage implications, as well as traffic implications, are terrible for the town.”

However, Ulverston resident Sarah Simpson recently wrote in support of the plans, echoing a number of similar letters welcoming a store that saves people traveling to Barrow to do their weekly shop.

She added: “The location of the store would help reduce the traffic to Barrow.”

The high profile plans have been hit by delays but Sainsbury’s says it is hopeful its application will be heard by SLDC’s planning committee in the near future.

SLDC said no decision will be made before the end of March but a date has yet to be set for the Sainsbury’s application to be discussed by planning committee members.

It is widely understood the town cannot accommodate both stores and Sainsbury’s still hopes to convince residents and councillors it offers the better prospects.

The plans boast a slightly larger store, petrol station and considerably more parking spaces but have come under fire for their out-of-town location.

Ulverston supermarket proposal sparks road fears

A MAJOR source of discussion to come from Ulverston’s supermarket wars has been which operator would eventually occupy a store at the former Robinsons brewery.

Planners have declined to name the store – or stores – that have expressed an interest in occupying the Brewery Street site.

However, after initially claiming a “high-end” user was eyeing up the chance to set up shop in Ulverston, they now say a “top-four” operator is keen to move into the premises.

But unless planners can convince the town its proposal would be better than rival Sainsbury’s, the mystery suitor’s identity may never be known.

The county council is among those suggesting the edge-of-centre location of the proposed store makes it the better option for the town as it would have a lesser impact on established businesses. However, there remain fierce objections from some residents and Robinsons may still be suffering the effects of its heavily criticised first planning application.

In June 2011, the company submitted plans for the supermarket, which were attacked by residents at a well-attended public meeting the following month.

The plans stalled under the pressure, before being formally withdrawn late last year.

In January a revised application was submitted to South Lakeland District Council.

Early reaction from the public shows strong opposition to the plans but when the Evening Mail has asked shoppers for their views, the reaction was more balanced.

In addition to receiving similar objections to the Sainsbury’s application, Robinsons has also met opposition from residents in nearby Hart Street, who cite fears over noise and traffic impact.

Ulverston resident Antoinette Fawcett wrote: “Since the road distance from (Tank Square) roundabout to the proposed entrance to the supermarket car park is relatively short, it is likely that there will be traffic back-up on the A590, causing probable traffic chaos.”

However, the Highways Agency has given its blessings for the plans to go ahead.

The application is expected to go before the planning committee in March or April.

Have your say

I am a true ulverstonian born and bred I have seen shops come and go and as people are saying it is a market town where are all the market stalls gone from brogden street and new market street and market street on both Thursday's and Saturday's I remember growing up as a youngster and ulverston used to be thriving but now that has all gone and we need to get a real grip because ulverston needs jobs and we need to build both supermarkets because if we don't you will find ulverston becoming anotherghost town as people will do their shopping in barrow or kendal why should people from ulverston have to travel to barrow just to go to work in asda or Morrison's when they could be working in the 2 new supermarkets this is what I am saying little shops can't afford to take many people on and as it is go and ask for a job in ulverston you won't get one because they have what they need so what about people wanting a job now look at how many went for a job at Costa coffee in ulverston build both supermarkets because it will only help keep people in the town and not send them to barrow or Kendal because if we don't get them I will just do my shopping from asda on the internet now then from a true ulverstonian

Posted by kevin potts on 18 April 2013 at 18:01

What do you mean "confirmed"? I suspect you are against the use of the brewery as a supermarket. I can confirm it is suitable, and eminently so. The Cooperative has been approached and is still considering the option.

Posted by Redneck Rampage on 18 February 2013 at 14:21

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