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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Ulverston supermarkets battle rumbles on after controversial votes

A SUPERMARKET war reached its climax as residents, councillors and store bosses argued their cases in favour and against two separate plans.

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NARROW VICTORY A computer-generated image of the supermarket at the Robinsons brewery site in Ulverston. South Lakeland District councillors voted by seven votes to six to approve the application

Proposals to build a supermarket on the former brewery site in Ulverston took a major step forward yesterday after narrowly securing the support of South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee, while Sainsbury’s suffered a huge blow.

However, both decisions could yet be subject to an appeal after anti-supermarket campaigners said they plan to write to the secretary of state to have the Robinsons decision called in as a “matter of national significance”.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s has insisted it will review members’ comments before deciding how to respond.

Ulverston town councillor Jane Harris spoke against both applications at the meeting in Kendal yesterday and said she had consulted with lawyers about having the Robinsons decision called in.

She added: “I am gutted, especially as it was so close.”

A proposal to reject the Robinsons application was defeated by seven votes to six, before a counter proposal supporting the development – put forward by Ulverston councillor Janette Jenkinson – was passed by the same one vote margin.

The decision was loudly branded a “failure of democracy” by one angry member of the public who stormed out of the meeting after the result was announced.

Meanwhile, the 13-to-one refusal of the Sainsbury’s application could spell the end of its plans.

However, regional development manager Andrew Sanderson refused to rule out an appeal.

He said: “Sainsbury’s had a strong interest in Ulverston and Sainsbury’s continues to have a strong interest in Ulverston.”

Both decisions went with planners’ recommendations, although at one point it looked like members were set to go against advice and reject the Robinsons plans.

Councillor Janette Jenkinson, who lives near to the Beehive site where Sainsbury’s hoped to build, said: “You can bet your bottom dollar something will come along.

“(Robinsons) will bring jobs in and it will bring shoppers in.”

Suggestions that the site would be better used to meet affordable housing need were dismissed as unviable.

In contrast, the Sainsbury’s decision was more straightforward, despite a large number of people turning up to support the supermarket.

Members voted 13 to one against the supermarket giant, criticising the choice of location for the store as well as its “bully boy tactics” in trying to ignore the objections of neighbouring residents.

Suzie Lawson, spokeswoman for the Bring Sainsbury’s to Ulverston group, said: “I’m really bitterly disappointed.

“It’s just a shame for the people of the town who said ‘please can we have it, we need it, it will create jobs and sustainable incomes’.”

Tony Clowes, managing director of Positive Location Properties, is overseeing the Robinsons development.

He said: “We are very pleased with the outcome and we look forward to delivering.”

Have your say

Why the secrecy about which supermarket? If we knew would there be more opposition to the proposal - if it were Tesco or a clever move by Sainsbury's. If it were Lidl, Aldi or Netto would that be more acceptable? Time for Robinsons to come clean and announce the name of the proposed supermarket.

Posted by Duncan Darbishire on 3 May 2013 at 10:31

at the moment it is cheaper to get a taxi both ways to asda barrow and do a months or even a fortnightly shop than it is to do the shopping in ulverston. i think we need a cheaper supermarket somewhere in ulverston that can provide a cheaper shopping centre. if we did get a sainsbury the other shops like the coop, booths and tesco will slowly bring prices down because of the competitions price will be cheaper.

Posted by jamie hoare on 2 May 2013 at 15:33

View all 10 comments on this article

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