OPPONENTS of a scheme to convert an empty building in Grange to two retail units have failed to convince planners to reject the application.
Manchester-based developers Kents Bank Assets submitted an application to SLDC last year to convert the town’s former Royal British Legion building to retail units.
And those plans were unanimously approved at a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Tuesday, despite hearing from a number of concerned residents, who raised issues over traffic, noise and the knock-on effect on smaller independent shops.
Developers confirmed at the meeting that talks were ongoing with regards to tenants, but remained tight-lipped over naming names.
Last year, Tesco confirmed it was considering a site in Grange, but would not say where.
Sam Miller, of Kents Bank Assets, said he was trying to be ‘responsible, but as open as possible’ amid concerns over what the site may be used for.
Isabelle Thorne, of Fernleigh Avenue, close to the development in Kents Bank Road, was one of the residents who spoke at the meeting.
“It will have a significant, and negative, impact on the quality of life for residents,” she said.
Her husband, Nick, added: “It would increase harm to the local amenities and increase traffic congestion. It is unsustainable, unnecessary and unwanted.”
And Grange town councillor Joanna Greenway said: “The extra traffic would snarl up what is already a dangerous area for pedestrians.”
But Mr Miller replied: “We don’t see this as traffic generating, and don’t expect vehicles to be coming into Gran-ge to use whatever this becomes.
“It provides an opportunity to keep money in the town.
“We are acutely aware of the concerns, but are satisfied we have listened to, and addressed, those concerns. It will provide more town centre footfall, and up to 30 jobs for local people.”
The plans, which were recommended for approval by SLDC officers, include a building for retail use, while a smaller building will be used for retail, professional services, or a cafe.
Coun David Williams said: “It can’t but improve the situation of this building. “The alternative is it will sit there and rot.”
Coun Janette Jenkinson added: “Sometimes people’s thoughts are that it will cause this, that, or the other, when, actually, it doesn’t happen like that.”