A DROITWICH councillor has said he is hopeful Sainsbury’s would meet with residents and representatives of the town council to discuss an issue which has been making residents’ lives a misery.
The problem with the canapé lights on the Worcester Road Sainsbury’s garage has been ongoing since it opened, last year.
Those living near the garage said the three bright signs on the sides and front of the canopy became a problem as they were at the same level as the surrounding properties’ bedroom windows.
And it was hoped Sainsbury’s would agree to turn them off after the garage closed at 11pm.
But, during discussions at the meeting of Droitwich Town Council on Monday (June 2), it was suggested that Sainsbury’s would only meet with residents individually.
Responding to that, Coun Bob Brookes claimed Wychavon District Council’s planning officer Simon Rees had requested a meeting with the company in hopes of coming to a neighbourly agreement which suited all parties but it had been refused.
“Many of the problems with this development would not be an issue with a similar store in a different location.
“However Droitwich is an individual community and in this case one size definitely does not fit all.
“Issues such as the excessive use of high-level lighting could be solved without, in my opinion, any detriment to Sainsbury’s business or its profits.”
Coun Brookes said when the supermarket, which advertised one of its five key values as ‘making a positive difference to its community’, showed an interest in coming to Droitwich, the town council welcomed it with open arms.
But, he added, he was very disappointed by the way in which it had conducted itself and its planning applications, once it had established its business in the town.
Coun Brookes announced he, with the support of Droitwich Town Council, would also be writing a formal letter to J Sainsbury’s Ltd requesting a meeting and asking the company to honour its public pledge to be a ‘good neighbour’.
“If Sainsbury’s would agree to meeting informally with residents and town council representatives, we believe this could be resolved amicably.”
It all came about during the planning process, before the garage was built, when many people had expressed concerns about the site.
Wychavon District Council placed a number of conditions on the garage’s application, including limitations on the height of the canapé, the lighting, the noise and the opening hours from 7am until 11pm.
Sainsbury’s then put in an amended planning application for the height of the canopy, determined by the planning officer at the time, as a minor change and was approved. But residents opposed the move because, whilst the application stated the garage had to close at 11pm, it did not specify when the lights had to be turned off. And that allowed, residents claimed, Sainsbury’s to keep them lit 24-hours-a-day.
A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s told The Standard: “We are aware of a small number of concerns raised by local residents and are currently investigating the issue.
“We will be responding to local residents and would be willing to hold a face-to-face meeting to update them.”