Plans to create a large supermarket, doctors’ surgery and cafe in the heart of Dorridge in Solihull, have been met with opposition from local residents.
A lobby group, called Dorridge Residents Opposed to Village Superstore (DROVS), has been set up to fight the plans for a new 26,500sq ft Sainsbury’s store on the site of Forest Court in the town.
Chairman Larry Sayer, who has lived in Dorridge for 40 years, said the plans were more akin to an out-of-town shopping destination and amounted to the destruction of the village centre.
He claimed the store would be out of keeping with the area, could kill off smaller shops and increase parking problems.
He said: “Sainsbury’s claim that what Dorridge needs is a major superstore, but in our view they have missed the big issues – what it would do to the character of this suburban commuter village and how the roads would cope with the extra traffic it would pull in.
“We also want to see whether the council is getting expert, objective, independent advice on the retail and traffic impact.
“The whole scale of the scheme is completely out of keeping with Dorridge. If it is approved, we would lose most of our small shops. We might just as well rename the place Sainsbury’s.
“We are concerned that many people who seem to be supporting the application may not have appreciated the size and scale of the plans and the implications it would have in terms of increased traffic.”
Sainsbury’s development surveyor Michael Adenmosun said the plans would regenerate Forest Court where the existing shopping centre would be demolished. There would also be a new doctors’ surgery, a cafe and 203 customer car parking spaces.
He said: “If the application is approved, the development will encourage more residents to remain in the area for shopping, which will increase footfall and benefit the existing independent retailers in the centre, who are currently losing trade to surrounding areas.
“Careful consideration has been given to the design of the development, which has progressed and evolved following extensive consultation with local groups and residents, with the final plans having taken on as many comments as possible.
“The plans include ground-floor parking underneath the food store and improvements to the surrounding highway network, ensuring a safe and accessible development.”
Solihull Council is due to consider the plans at a meeting next month.