PLANS for a new supermarket in Barbourne have been given the go-ahead despite concerns it would drive independent businesses out of the area.
At a meeting yesterday members of Worcester City Council’s planning committee approved plans to convert the former Intoto furniture store at the junction of St George’s Lane North into a Sainsbury’s Local.
The development will also include a demolition of part of the existing building – a former glove factory built in about 1935 – to create a 12-space car park and is expected to create about 25 full and part-time jobs.
Tim Bennett, who lives directly opposite the entrance to the planned car park in St George’s Lane North, said he was concerned about the impact on traffic of the entrance, which will be about 27 metres to the junction with Barbourne Road.
He told the committee traffic driving up St George’s Lane North and turning right onto Barbourne Road often faced long waits and this would make matters worse.
“We already witness drivers that get frustrated trying to get across the junction,” he said.
“We’ve seen an ambulance on an emergency call stuck in traffic.
“That is only going to get worse.”
He said he was also concerned a cash machine planned for the corner of the store would cause serious problems due to drivers stopping directly outside to use the facility.
But Richard Nicol, representing the applicants, said he believed the majority of customers would walk to and from the shop as it was intended as a facility for people living in the area.
He added all deliveries to the store – which is planned to be open from 7am until 11pm seven days a week – would take place outside peak traffic times, early in the morning or late in the evening.
“ Sainsbury’s intend to be good neighbours and would not intentionally build a store that would be a nuisance to neighbours,” he said.
Earlier this year your Worcester News reported business owners in the area were concerned the new shop could drive them out of business.
Cllr Joy Squires said she had spoken to a lot of business owners and people living in the area and traffic had been the most common concern raised.
“It’s fair to say a lot of them would welcome the arrival of Sainsbury’s and think it would regenerate the area,” she said.
But Cllr Robert Rowden said he was not convinced the store would increase traffic problems.
“One must remember that used to be a very active football club around there,” he said.
“I really think traffic is a red herring here.”
The application was permitted 10 votes to one.