Article by Guy Bell: Sainbury's will open its new store in Billericay later this year, despite concerns about its location and fears for shoppers' safety.
The supermarket giant is hoping to throw open the doors to its new Local store in Radford Way as soon as the autumn after receiving planning permission last week.
It will take over the Hamber Safes site, creating up to 25 new jobs and 11 parking spaces, and opening from 7am to 11pm daily. Planning committee councillors heard how 14 neighbours filed objections to the plans, whilst one wrote a letter supporting the development.
But town councillors have this week reiterated their concerns about the store's location.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Councillor Adam Adshead"]It will be on a busy roundabout and there is only one pedestrian crossing. If you are expecting people to come by foot then two or three roads need additional highway safety, whether that is a zebra or pelican crossing. Mountnessing Road has a railway bridge and some people pick up some speed along there.[/quote]
Billericay already has a Waitrose, as well as a Tesco in Jacksons Lane and a Coop in Queens Park Avenue.
Cllr Adshead believes lessons can be learnt from problems faced by the other supermarkets.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by"]Tesco in Jacksons Lane is lovely but it gets very busy and people park there to use the station. I don't understand how the deliveries at Sainsbury's are going to work if there are only ten or 11 spaces. That part of Billericay is very busy, particularly during rush hour. In Perry Street and past the roundabout there will be lots of traffic with people wanting to go to and from the train station. There will be lots of traffic and anyone trying to turn into Sainsbury's will cause queues in the roundabout itself. I don't think Sainsbury's have thought the plans through.[/quote]
Councillor Peter Bowditch raised concerns about neighbouring traders.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Councillor Peter Bowditch"]We are always happy to see new businesses coming into the town but the concern I have is the effect and impact it will have on some smaller, more established businesses such as the Mountnessing Road post office.[/quote]
Councillor Daphne Spencer says an alternative supermarket is good news but shares Cllr Adshead's concerns.
She said: "It is the location that is a problem."
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by a spokesman for Sainsbury's"]We hope to open the store later in the year, possibly in the autumn, and look forward to welcoming people to our new store.[/quote]