Sainsbury's plans reviewed at exhibition
News and Announcements - Sainsbury's / Waitrose
Saturday, 05 November 2011 18:02
Sainsbury’s held a public exhibition today and yesterday in the Town Hall, where they displayed information and had representatives on hand to answer questions about their proposed superstore at the Garden Centre site.
A representative said they’d been looking into this site for a number of years. They’d also researched other sites around the town but the Garden Centre was a brown field site, less likely to be an important wildlife habitat and less likely to face opposition from residents in the immediate vicinity.
Some visitors to the exhibition complained about the use of an image entitled ‘the existing Malmesbury Garden Centre’ in their brochure, which showed the rear corner of the site, containing skips and rubbish on a muddy area, known to be used in connection with the owner’s plant hire business. However, a Sainsbury’s representative explained that it is part of the garden centre site, behind the building, where their superstore would be located and didn't feel that it was misrepresentative.
Other members of the public questioned what businesses might go into the employment units but it was indicated by Sainsbury’s representatives that they couldn't be certain as whilst they would be applying for outline planning permission on behalf of the owner, development for the remainder of the site, where employment units would be based would come under an entirely separate application. Sainsbury's also stated that the existing pre-fabricated garden centre building would be physically moved from its current location to the corner of the site next to the roundabout. This is depicted as an L-shaped office building in the artist’s aerial impression shown in the brochure.
Confusion has also arisen over land designated for employment use in the area. Wiltshire Council identified two sites in their North Wiltshire Local Plan 2011 and recently showed commitment to increasing employment in the area by approving planning permission for ten office units on the site behind Persimmon's offices. This site is now on the market. Sainsbury's have omitted this from their map and claim that they have the only available site designated for employment use. Sainsbury's representatives weren't aware of this at the exhibition.
700 people attended this exhibition with very mixed opinions. Some were in support of convenience and low prices, whereas others were against the proposals, convinced that the development would kill the town centre, come with extra housing and destroy the community that they've experienced in Malmesbury for generations.
Sainsbury's are expected to be finalising their plans for submitting an application early next year.