Wednesday, June 17, 2009

P&J reports on the Sainsbury's Inquiry

Just as the Gurnmeister expected, the P&J have given prominence to question of what Highland Council exactly wanted from Sainsbury's under their A96 protocol scheme. The Gurn's account of yesterday's dissection of the Highland Council position is here: 'Inquiry gets under way with a million pound question!'
And so to the P&J:
A senior planner with Highland Council was summoned to Nairn yesterday to clarify what the authority wanted from Sainsbury’s in return for allowing it to build a supermarket in the town.
It came after a QC representing Sainsbury’s at the public inquiry into plans for its first store in the Highlands accused the council of “outrageous and unreasonable behaviour”.'


Nairnac said...

Don't be fooled by Sansburys anguished protests over the cost of their application. Nairn (not Highland Council) needs every cent it can get from them, and they can well afford it. They're desperate to expand their empire having just announced a large fund raising share and bond issue for this very purpose. (
They've also just aquired another tranche of stores from the Co-op ! - If the Co-op aren't going to proceed with expansion of the Nairn town centre site, could some deal not be done by way of compulsory purchase to bring sainburys in there. It is simply not acceptable for the town centre development not to go ahead, particularly if the Co-op uses Sainsburys as an excuse not to proceed. Nairn needs a new supermarket in the town centre, and the Balmakeith proposal would be good to balance that by way of competition. Given the interconnection of all the parties now involved, is it not possible for Highland Council to sit down with all parties and agree a way forward to benefit all involved, but with priority given to the good of Nairn. I don't see why we shouldn't have both.

Nairnac said...

What I'm saying is, it would be idiotic and unforgivable to kill off the town centre redevelopment by approving the Balmakeith application in isolation.

Can anyone tell me if this has been considered ?

Anonymous said...

The town centre redevelopment has been on the cards for over 10 years now - and nothing has happened at all.

All that has been achieved is that Somerfield left us with a string of derelict buildings in its care along the A96.

The problem is not Sainsburys moving in - it's people still clining onto an unrealised dream from last century, which has achieved nothing so far expecting bring the face value of the town down with it.


- Brian

Spurtle said...

I know that Sainsbury's completely dismissed any suggestion that they should develop the town centre site themselves, even if it was only as a smaller 'convenience' type store, to operate in conjunction with the larger scale proposal at Balmakeith.

I also agree that the town centre does need a food outlet of a reasonable scale and offering a decent selection of product lines. It really should be an integrated part of the town centre, even if we do have an edge-of-town alterntive.

Sainsbury's have made it known that they think the Co-op will go ahead with the town centre site if the Balmakeith scheme is rubber stamped by the Scottish Ministers but, the Co-op have something of an ace up their sleeve here.

Picture a scenario where the Co-op turn up at the Public Inquiry, in theory just as an objector, only to use it as a platform to announce a start date for their town centre supermarket redevelopment plans.

In those circumstances Sainsbury's plans would likely be blown out of the water. Remember the Reporter can really only consider conformance, or contridiction with planning policy and adopted local plans. The Co-op proposal ticks all the boxes and conforms on all counts - anyone willing to bet against them if they pull this trump card ?

Nairnac said...

Brian - It's not just Somerfield (now the Co-op), it was Morrisons and Safeway before that. Previously the situation was out of the control of the council, but it strikes me that there is now the opportunity for the council/parliament planners to excerpt positive influence for the good of Nairn.

Spurtle - I absolutely agree that the town centre needs a new supermarket. It's the only thing that will keep the High Street alive.

The new Co-op won't actually be that much bigger than what's already there, and I don't see why we can't have a new improved Co-op in the town centre and Sainsburys at Balmakeith.

This could all be brokered by the council/parliamentary planning people RIGHT NOW