Supermarket bid moves step closer despite traffic fears
PLANS for a new supermarket in West Bridgford have taken a major step forward.
The 50,000 sq ft store is set to be built near to the Becket School in Wilford Lane, with work likely to start in the next 18 to 24 months.
The plans were backed by the development control committee at Rushcliffe Borough Council after a heated debate.
They will now be referred to communities secretary Eric Pickles before work can begin.
Matt Nicholson, regional town planning manager for Sainsbury's, said he was delighted the plans had been approved.
He said: "The new store will provide new jobs in the area as well as improving the choice that people have when it comes to shopping.
"Obviously we have cleared the first hurdle and there is a long way to go before the work begins, but we expect it to begin in the next 18 to 24 months.
"With regard to concerns about traffic, we will be putting in a number of improvements along Wilford Lane, such as widening the pavement and having a dedicated turning lane into the Roko gym."
Concerns were expressed at the meeting about the impact the new store will have on existing shops in West Bridgford, the safety of pupils at the Becket School as well as traffic problems in Wilford Lane.
Gordon Wheeler, ward councillor for Compton Acres, said claims the store would create 350 jobs didn't stand up.
He said: "The store would have a large impact on the town centre in West Bridgford and the way stores would respond to falling demand is by letting staff go. We have schemes running in West Bridgford such as Totally Locally which encourage people to shop in independent stores – a new supermarket would take trade away from local businesses when we want to support them.
"People living nearby will suffer from the store – the traffic along Wilford Lane will be much busier than it is now and the safety implications for people using the school will be big."
Abbey councillor John Bannister echoed his concerns.
He said: "The store would have a direct impact on the viability of the town centre in West Bridgford.
"Also, while I welcome the news the A453 will be widened, I might not get to use it as Wilford Lane will become so busy."
However, Trent councillor Jean Smith said: "The death of West Bridgford was suggested when the Marks and Spencer store was built, but this has had a positive effect on the centre."