By Kevin Unitt Friday 19 October 2012 Updated: 23/10 08:42
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a Sainsbury's Local store on a former pub site in Leamington have been thrown out by councillors.
The proposals, for the former Oak Inn site at the junction of Radford Road and Willes Road, were rejected by Warwick District Council's planning committee in a meeting at Leamington town hall on Tuesday night (October 16).
Reasons given included the lack of parking spaces around the site – just 14 were proposed when a minimum of 31 were suggested by the council – while concerns were also raised about the safety of pedestrians as motorists attempt to manoeuvre in the proposed car park.
News of the rejection will be welcomed by more than 180 local residents who put their names to two petitions opposing the Sainsbury's plan.
Many expressed support for their local off-licence grocery and convenience store, Rai Supermarket directly opposite the site, over fears the supermarket giant's arrival would kill the family business.
Owner Narinder Rai told the paper recently: “Once their (Sainsbury’s) foot is in the door, they’ll take over because people’s mentality is that it’s the big brand so they’ll shop there. We’re not against supermarkets, we’re just against them where they’re not needed.
“We provide a very personal service and I don’t think Sainsbury’s will be able to replicate that."
Shop user and local resident Vicky Kingsley added “Mr Rai and his family are lovely and a real part of the community.
“I agree the pub site is an eyesore but there must be alternatives to direct competition and I doubt a small independent store will be able to compete with a national chain’s ability to sell at cost or below cost prices.”
It is unclear at this stage if Sainsbury's will appeal against the application refusal.
Bosses had said the store would have created up to 25 new jobs and brought further choice to residents in the area.
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