Station Road Inquiry -Third Day

Whole day spent in cross examination by the Co-Op legal counsel of the St Modwen’s/Sainsbury’s retail expert, where the same arguments were set out as to the disbenefits/benefits of both the Station Rd and Audley Avenue superstores, the potential impact on the two existing High St supermarkets, and much discussion as to what weight that should be given to the Inspector’s Report on Audley Avenue, which has been challenged by St Modwen’s retail expert. Consequently the Inquiry is now well behind schedule and at this rate could go beyond the 12 days allocated. The more the timetable slips, the less chance there will be that the Inspector finds any additional time (other than the 2 hours he has allocated on the evening of the 12th) to hear local interested parties. One positive thing to note at the end of the day was the glowing praise from St Modwen’s retail expert both for the High St itself, for what the Town Council and Regeneration Partnership were doing to enhance the High St, and the potential shown by the establishment of a Town Team for new investment in the town. We will need to be very aware of compliments such as this, as I feel they might come back to bite us ( in respect of what St Modwen’s might be offering to help assist our own efforts to save the High St from Sainsbury’s).

 

Tomorrow the Inquiry will hear from St Modwen’s second retail expert as to his views on the deliverability of the Audley Avenue store by Morrison’s while a decision on the Station Rd superstore is still unknown.

 

We have had a constant stream of people dropping in to the Inquiry, and it would be good if others could find time to do the same, as it demonstrates to the Inspector that the local community has real concerns about what is being proposed for the town.

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