As the leading multiples continue to face protests from campaigners against store openings, Sainsbury has found itself at the receiving end of a protest before it has even formally submitted plans.
Residents in Dorking, Surrey, have set up the protest group Dorking SOS following reports that Sainsbury wants to relocate its store to a site backing on to the town’s shopping arcade St Martin’s Walk.
The group claims that the development is “wrong for the town, for the environment and for the
local economy”.
It has met the local council to discuss the planning process Sainsbury would have to go through if it wanted to submit plans, and is setting up a web site in the next few weeks.
Residents living in a block of flats on the site of the proposed development have put up signs in their windows with the message ‘Sainsbury’s - making life taste bitter’.
A spokeswoman for Sainsbury said: “We have had a store in Dorking for more than 25 years and have a very loyal customer base. It is a small store and we would like to be able to provide a bigger and better store. The St Martin’s Walk development offers us an opportunity.
“We have not yet been involved in any discussions between the developers and the council, which we believe to be in the early stages,” she added.
Meanwhile, in Hadleigh, Suffolk, news that Tesco has been given the green light to open a store after a seven-year wait has divided residents.
Protest group Campaign Against Another Supermarket in Hadleigh has vowed to fight the decision, claiming that the effects of the store on local business would be “catastrophic”. However, the Tesco Supporters Group in Hadleigh said it was “absolutely delighted” with the decision.
In Sudbury, Suffolk, Tesco’s plans to double the size of its store in the town are to go to a public inquiry later this month.
Although Babergh District Council has approved Tesco’s plans, residents are concerned that the town centre could lose £130,000 in annual trade.
And in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, Newby and Scalby Parish Council is objecting to Tesco’s plans to build a 2,700 sq ft Express. It argues that the development would increase congestion and disruption.
Beth Brooks