Sainsbury's store for Ambleside gets thumbs down from council - but LDNPA planners to have final say

The Westmorland Gazette: Coming soon to Ambleside? Coming soon to Ambleside?

LAKES parish councillors have recommended refusal of plans for a Sainsbury’s store on land next to Hayes Garden World in Ambleside.

But the final decision will rest with planners on the Lake District National Park development control committee later this year.

Councillors meeting recently said it would have an 'adverse effect on the character and appearance of the town, imperil the viability of local shops and affect traffic along the main A591'.

A final plans update from Sainsbury’s representatives also left councillors highly critical of original information that the store would sell only food.

New plans reveal that 15 per cent of the store space will be devoted to non-perishables including electrical goods, home and cookware, stationery and clothing.

However Sainsbury’s said they would only be selling a small selection of these items, which would not compete with specialist shops in the town.

The store intends to provide a complete weekly food shop for the 80 per cent of the town’s population which currently travels to Windermere or Kendal for this purpose.

Ambleside Spar owner Cliff Newton said a Sainsbury’s would rip the heart out of the town centre, which had already suffered a hit from Tesco’s, and implored Lakes Parish Council to reject the plan. He said the store was a blot on the landscape, which would be wrong both for the National Park and the Lake District which was seeking World Heritage status.

Local resident Hugh Wright said a Sainsbury’s store was not just creeping urbanisation but more like “leaping, galloping urbanisation”, which would ‘ruin Ambleside’.

Hoteliers and retailers both agreed that visitors came to Ambleside to find something different, including small independent local shops.

However, retail predictions for 2018 showed a possible 17 per cent reduction in turnover at Ambleside Spar and Tesco, 12.7% per cent at the Co-op and approximately 11.8 per cent for smaller local shops, raising fears that some might not survive.

The council also criticised the plan for referring to a designated traffic free cycle route to the store, which does not exist.

However, Sainsbury’s consultation feedback showed 67 per cent of people generally in favour of the store, 26 per cent against and seven per cent unsure.

Local shoppers would continue to top up during the week using local shops, the company said.

The meeting was told deliveries would total four trucks daily, plus two milk and one bread delivery. Sainsbury’s denied it was not interested in promoting locally produced food, and invited local suppliers to get in touch.

The store would create 100 full and part-time jobs for locals. Total parking spaces across the Hayes site would be 332, of which 142 would be managed by Sainsbury’s with two hours free parking. Store pricing would be in line with similar-sized Sainsbury stores.

In further response to comments and consultation, Sainsbury’s modified its original plans, including siting the building further back from the highway, and reducing its height.

Councillors voted almost unanimously for refusal of the plans, with one abstention.

Andrew Sanderson, Sainsbury's regional development manager, said: “We listened to the concerns residents had about our original plans and, as a direct result of that feedback, have improved the scheme accordingly. We feel that this development would be a positive addition to Ambleside, creating jobs for the local community and reducing the distance people currently travel to do their weekly shop.”

Comments (4)

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5:33pm Mon 10 Feb 14

Milkbutnosugarplease says...

I think it's hypocritical to oppose this store in Ambleside and then drive over to Booths in Windermere or to Kendal for a big shop. What about the traffic added to roads already busy and the money plus jobs 'outsourced' to other shopping centres? If the Spar and Co-op stores had bigger or better premises without steps up from street level, they would have less to fear from competition. Tesco were shrewd enough to rent a shop with a few parking spaces outside and with level access from the pavement, so why couldn't the rival shops do the same in the past? Yes, Ambleside is uniquely beautiful but it shouldn't become a relic of the past. The Bridge House was a new building in its day, after all.
I think it's hypocritical to oppose this store in Ambleside and then drive over to Booths in Windermere or to Kendal for a big shop. What about the traffic added to roads already busy and the money plus jobs 'outsourced' to other shopping centres? If the Spar and Co-op stores had bigger or better premises without steps up from street level, they would have less to fear from competition. Tesco were shrewd enough to rent a shop with a few parking spaces outside and with level access from the pavement, so why couldn't the rival shops do the same in the past? Yes, Ambleside is uniquely beautiful but it shouldn't become a relic of the past. The Bridge House was a new building in its day, after all. Milkbutnosugarplease
  • Score: 24

6:02pm Mon 10 Feb 14

furthersouth says...

no to Sainsbury's, I'm on the objection side. It's a modern world, if i want a big shop, I don't waste valuable time trawling around a big supermarket or adding to traffic choas in Kendal or Barrow or Windermere etc. I simply log on to my computer, fill a Tesco shopping basket full of goods and get it delivered at a time convenient to me, never a problem, usually between 9 and 10pm. If we need anything else, I work near Aldi so just pop in on my way to work. All other bits and pieces we naturally shop in spar or Co-Op in the village. The Sainsbury's fellow says they are creating jobs, yes, that may be true , but only after folk from the smaller shops have lost theirs. Ridiculous idea. Sainsbury's will be aggressively targetting the shoppers who usually stop at Spar/Co-Op/ Granny Smiths etc, they will be targetted by management at HQ for at least 40 % of the business in the village. That would put people out of business.
no to Sainsbury's, I'm on the objection side. It's a modern world, if i want a big shop, I don't waste valuable time trawling around a big supermarket or adding to traffic choas in Kendal or Barrow or Windermere etc. I simply log on to my computer, fill a Tesco shopping basket full of goods and get it delivered at a time convenient to me, never a problem, usually between 9 and 10pm. If we need anything else, I work near Aldi so just pop in on my way to work. All other bits and pieces we naturally shop in spar or Co-Op in the village. The Sainsbury's fellow says they are creating jobs, yes, that may be true , but only after folk from the smaller shops have lost theirs. Ridiculous idea. Sainsbury's will be aggressively targetting the shoppers who usually stop at Spar/Co-Op/ Granny Smiths etc, they will be targetted by management at HQ for at least 40 % of the business in the village. That would put people out of business. furthersouth
  • Score: -19

6:04pm Mon 10 Feb 14

furthersouth says...

oh and we weren't consulted by Sainsbury's as they conveniently arranged these meetings when folk were at work. They did a survey of second home owners and the retired, who obviously, want a Sainsbury's to save them a journey to Booth's.
oh and we weren't consulted by Sainsbury's as they conveniently arranged these meetings when folk were at work. They did a survey of second home owners and the retired, who obviously, want a Sainsbury's to save them a journey to Booth's. furthersouth
  • Score: -28

3:26pm Mon 17 Feb 14

jazzactivist says...

It just isn't needed. Sainsburys claims that only 15% of its stock will be non-food so as not to compete with other shops in the town, but what about competing with small independent shops that sell food? There won't be anything to buy in Sainsburys that can't already be bought in Ambleside, and you don't even need to go to another supermarket or online to do it. People who support the idea of this extra supermarket should just take a slow walk around Ambleside to see which shops are already there, and support those instead. It's amazing what you find when you are really looking.
It just isn't needed. Sainsburys claims that only 15% of its stock will be non-food so as not to compete with other shops in the town, but what about competing with small independent shops that sell food? There won't be anything to buy in Sainsburys that can't already be bought in Ambleside, and you don't even need to go to another supermarket or online to do it. People who support the idea of this extra supermarket should just take a slow walk around Ambleside to see which shops are already there, and support those instead. It's amazing what you find when you are really looking. jazzactivist
  • Score: -1

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