SAINSBURY’S has revealed multi-million pound plans for a supermarket in Ambleside as it bids to get a foothold in South Lakeland for the third time in as many years.
The retail giant has con-firmed to the Gazette that it is now eyeing a site next to Hayes Garden World after blocked attempts to win consent for stores in Kendal and Ulverston.
Bosses say the 14,000 sq ft food store on the two-acre parcel of land would create up to 100 new full and part-time jobs and provide a weekly ‘trolley shop’ desti-nation for residents.Exploratory talks have taken place with the Lake District National Park Authority and the covers will come off the plan at two public exhibitions at the parish centre in Ambleside next week (July 12-13).
Some in Ambleside have welcomed the upmarket brand and a larger store for the town, which is served by smaller ‘basket filling’ stores like the Co-Operative, Spar and more recently a Tesco Express.
But others have raised concerns about the hit on hard-pressed small shops and concern that shoppers could avoid the town centre by stocking up at the town’s southerly entrance.
The LDNPA’s develop-ment control committee will ultimately decide the application, which has yet to be submitted, and says a retail impact assessment must be provided.
The potential developers, Preston-based Eric Wright Ltd, say no formal plans will be submitted until the community has spoken.
However, it is accepted that any application is likely to be dealt with in 2013 and any opening would be next year.
The proposed site is an overgrown parcel of land on the ‘Windermere’ side of Hayes Garden World, now used as an overspill car parking area for garden centre staff.
It is proposed that the single storey supermarket would be built on pillars to provide ‘under store’ car parking similar to the Booths design in Kendal.
It would specialise in food only with no hard goods, cafe or petrol station.
Andrew Sanderson, Sain-sbury's regional develop-ment manager, said: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Hayes Garden World for part of the site. The store will be appropriate in size for the area and will focus on providing food products for Ambleside shoppers. As a responsible developer, Sainsbury's is committed to leading a full public consultation.”
Keith Laird, for Hayes Garden World, said: “These are important proposals for our business. A Sain-sbury's foodstore next door to us will enable Ambleside residents to do their weekly food shop locally. By creating new jobs and sustaining existing jobs, it will be good for us and for Ambleside in general."
Lakes Parish Council is reserving judgement until the plans are submitted, but chairman Elwyn Bradshaw said: “This will bring to an end long-term speculation about Sainsbury’s interest. As far as the council is concerned we will receive the plans, debate them and report back.”
Planner Paul Haggin, of the LDNPA, said: “This is still a way off because they have yet to carry out a retail impact assessment. This is a requirement that we ask so that we can be satisfied that the viability of the town centre remains robust.”
- The public exhibition will take place on July 12 and 13 at Ambleside Parish Centre, from noon to-7pm on Friday and 10am-4pm on Saturday. For more details, call 0800 319 6162 or email email@example.com.