KENDAL has moved a step closer to getting its sixth superstore after councillors gave the thumbs up for Sainsbury's - at the third time of asking.

The company today won permission to build a 7,774sq metre superstore on the 7.8 acre Shap Road ground which is currently occupied by Kendal Rugby Union FC.


Two previous applications by Sainsbury's have been rejected by planning inspectors.

The new proposal - described as 'materially different' and 'much larger' was passed by councillors today.

But the decision still has to be reviewed by the Secretary of State, although Sainsbury's said afterwards it is hopeful of a positive response.

The store cannot be built until the rugby club gets its new ground finalised on Oxenholme Road.

The application was passed by seven votes to five with all six Tories and a Labour member on SLDC's Planning Committee agreeing it should go ahead and the five Lib Dems in attendance voting against. 

Usually, the Lib Dems are the majority party on the planning committee but five members were absent from this morning's vote.

They were councillors Sheila Eccles, David Fletcher, Heidi Halliday, David Ryder and Gill Gardner.

Coun David Evans, a Lib Dem councillor who is not on the planning committee, spoke against the plan on behalf of nearby residents.

He described it as a 'supermarket Kendal doesn't want' in a place that isn't 'suitable'.

The supermarket plans to build a food-only store with a six-pump petrol station and 500-space car park.

Its previous attempts also included non-food retail units such as Next and Halfords, although these have been dropped from the current scheme.

The applicants also have to fulfill around 17 conditions - some of which involve improving junctions en-route. They will also have to subsidise more Number 43 bus services from the town centre to the area and contribute £100,000 for a new cycle link to town.

Kendal Town Council warned about exacerbating traffic up Shap Road and Appleby Road.

In its objection, it quoted a travel assessment which predicts 4,000 vehicles visiting the store every weekday and 5,600 a day at the weekend. It would be equivalent to 32,000 visits per week.

Councillors said the new supermarket would be bigger than Asda, Morrisons and Booths, and the council confirmed it would draw money away from stores like Booths, Iceland and M&S.

A 'retail assessment' by the applicant provided to the council estimated that the new store will 'divert' trade worth £1.94m from Booths, £750k from Marks and Spencer, £280,000 from Iceland and £260,000 from what was described as 'other destinations'.

No monetary figure was put on the estimate of trade taken from Kendal town centre but it was put at 12.4 per cent.

Council planners ruled out the idea of Sainsbury's possibly moving into Canal Head after pointing out that Meal Bank Properties had said the 'Castle Mills site is no longer available for development as a large supermarket'. 

They also scotched ideas that the current application for Sainsbury's could go in K Village - citing the residential properties above the centre and servicing difficulties at the rear.

Councillors were told that there had been several letters of objection.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: "We are delighted that South Lakeland District Council has approved the application for a new Sainsbury’s in Kendal.

"This store will see the investment of £1.1 million in infrastructure in Kendal, create up to 350 new full and part-time jobs and improve choice for local people.

"Now this application has been approved by South Lakeland District Council, it has gone to the Secretary of State for further consideration. We will continue to work closely with the council in the hope of receiving a positive response from the Secretary of State in the coming months."

Dr Stephen Green, chairman for Kendal Rugby Union FC, attended today's meeting but declined to comment until he had discussed news of today's decision with others.

* Original article stated three councillors were absent from the meeting this has now been corrected.