Retailers worry supermarket plans pose threat
DEVELOPER firm Gladman have submitted a fresh full planning application for a retail development at Barbush, Dunblane.
This comes after the firm were granted outline planning permission through an appeal in February this year - despite a judicial review currently being carried out over on aspect of the initial decision.
However some retailers are concerned that not enough information has been given about the structure of the proposed development. It was believed that a Sainsbury's store would be the final operator of the development, however this has not been confirmed.
Green Councillor for Dunblane and Bridge of Allan Mark Ruskell said: "There is massive uncertainty now over what kind of superstore will emerge at Barbush and even those who would have welcomed a modest Sainsbury's will be having doubts. There are big questions about how a third supermarket would be run- will it be based on an aggressive business model that attempts to replicate the High Street for example? It's time Gladman came clean on the details of how the store would be configured, only then can the real impact on our High Street can be properly judged."
Helen Gourley, owner of The Hub in Dunblane said: "I firmly believe that whomever takes on the supermarket should be strongly discouraged from selling non grocery products to protect the viability of Dunblane High Street. If the supermarket is permitted to become a one-stop shop then that is what it will become, no matter how attractive the offering on the High Street.
"But if shoppers can't buy gifts for example at the supermarket, they may choose to use the High Street instead and while visiting buy their steak pie or veg locally too. I am totally against any pharmacy or refreshment facilities being permitted into the development. We need to encourage choice and diversity throughout the town and the only way to do that is to control the impact large grocers have on the High Street. We should be taking steps to encourage local shopping with independent business."
Commenting on the new application, a spokesperson from Gladman said: "Following the Reporter's decision to grant planning permission in principle for our proposed food store, petrol filling station and office pavilion development at Barbush we have been keen to progress with our plans despite the challenge lodged by The Kippendavie Group Trust which is promoting the development of a food store on the site of the New Dunblane Golf Club House and car park.
"The findings of the recent survey undertaken by Keith Brown MSP of all Dunblane households which overwhelmingly backed our site at Barbush as the preferred location for a new food store has given us the confidence together with an allocation in the draft Local Development Plan to continue with the planning process despite the ongoing appeal. Accordingly we have now secured detailed planning consent for the proposed office pavilion element of the development and we are in the process of progressing the detailed application for the food store and petrol filling station.
"It remains our intention to develop office accommodation on a speculative basis as part of the mixed use proposals. There are no material changes to our proposals for the medium sized store in terms of the detailed application which will of course be subject to the approval of council officials and any conditions they may apply.
"Effectively we are not seeking to introduce anything new to our proposals which have been widely debated and supported in the local community, we are merely trying to progress our proposals from an "in principle" consent to a "detailed" consent to allow for this major economic development to commence at the earliest opportunity. Discussions with the operator will be confirmed once the planning position has been finally clarified."
Dunblane Community Council Chairman, Terence O'Byrne added: "The Community Council has taken a consistent view that it is important to mitigate the impact that a new superstore could have on our High Street. We have asked in our response to the planning application that there should not be any of the following types of trade allowed: a cafe of any type, pharmacy, no fresh butchery and no large white goods.
"Furthermore we have asked that the split between the food and non food floor space should be no more than 80/20%. It is important to remember that this new application is very similar to the application that the Government Reporter granted permission for at the start of this year.
"The Community Council will also be asking Gladman for a substantial donation in the form of Community Gain which could be used for projects to help protect and develop the High Street."
This article appeared in Allanwater Herald 21 Jun 12
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