Sainsbury’s plan is trouble in store say residents

Plans to double the size of a town supermarket have been met with anger by residents who say the development is unsuitable for the area and is being pushed through with as little consultation as possible.

Residents in the Poplar neighbourhood in Stevenage are concerned that proposals to redevelop the 25-year-old Sainsbury’s store there will create more noise and traffic dangers and will dominate the area.

Opponents to the development, which includes a two-storey extension, a decked car park and a new petrol station, organised a meeting with the planners this morning (Thursday) at the Poplar Community Centre to express their views.

Chris Smith of Magpie Crescent said: “The people that live next to it, they’re going to have a petrol station right next to their houses now. The chip shop is going to have a double level car park outside his shop. The car parks are never full anyway - even at five o’clock they are half full.

“They are going to take away a building that fits with its surroundings and put in a huge white box.

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“There’s a school round the corner and kids use that road. The whole idea of building is to bring more traffic to the store. What are they going to do about people who speed down there? With more cars there will be more noise and more safety issues.”

He added: “There’s no information in the shop. They are not going out of their way to tell people about it. There will be another major store going up in Stevenage with as little opposition as possible.”

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Stuart Donkin who lives opposite the entrance to the site, said the disruption caused by the redevelopment would come on top of other works in recent years.

“In the last three to four years they have refurbished the store and petrol station. Each set of works took seven to 10 days and caused a lot of late night noise and disturbance. These new works will take months, probably over a year. Why is this needed? The car park is rarely half full.”

Janet Jeffreys added: “They want to relocate the petrol station to within feet of housing for the elderly and build a two storey car park in the middle of a residential area. Residents are not happy with this proposed eyesore.”

A spokesman for the supermarket chain said: “We are continuing discussions with local residents and businesses following our exhibition earlier this month to ensure that their feedback is considered as we work towards submitting a planning application.”

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