A leading barrister has raised serious concerns about plans to build a supermarket in a Solihull village.
Jeremy Cahill QC, of Number 5 Chambers, Birmingham, said the Sainsbury’s supermarket proposed for Forest Court, Dorridge is too large and goes against Solihull Council’s planning policy.
In his report he said: “It is clear...that the current proposal is far too large when regard is had to existing local policy, and in particular to emerging local policy in the form of the draft Core Statement”.
He added: “It cannot be consistent with local planning policy to locate a much larger store in Dorridge than that intended for Knowle.”
The QC’s opinion has pleased campaign group Dorridge Residents Opposing Village Superstore (DROVS).
A spokesman for the group said: “It’s wonderful this pivotal QC opinion matches the views of local people – that Dorridge doesn’t need a development of this scale.”
Sainsbury’s submitted its revised plans for the regeneration of Forest Court to Solihull Council earlier this year after its previous application was refused last year.
Its new plans propose a food store 26 per cent smaller than the rejected plan. The plans also include a 175-space car park, the extension and refurbishment of the existing doctors’ surgery, six smaller retail units and space for an independent restaurant.
The supermarket said an 18 month consultation led to full support from 67 per cent of respondents, with 16 per cent supporting some of it.
But a doorstep survey of residents which generated almost 700 responses found that although most are in favour of the development of Forest Court, the majority do not want a store the proposed size
Dorridge resident Nick Cromie, who helped to organise the poll, said: “With all the arguments, I felt it was important to ask what residents wanted.
"We were careful to make sure that the survey would give a fair and accurate representation of views so we surveyed addresses across the village.”
A decision is expected to be made on October 19.