Suggestion for superstore developers

First published in News
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THE South Wiltshire Group of the National Charity the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is fully opposed to the Salisbury Gateway proposal for a Sainsbury’s retail store in Southampton Road.

We have sent a full written comment on the planning application to Wiltshire Council’s website.

There appears to be a large amount of opposition to this application, especially on the grounds of flooding, traffic and over-supply of retail outlets here when the north and west of the city, where extensive housing development is planned, has none.

The developer in turn refutes all of these objections with an overwhelming amount of technical detail, which most of us will not understand.

Just in case Wiltshire Council is minded to ignore the voice of the people and approve the planning application, we have a suggestion to make regarding the imposition of conditions which we believe could be presented within a Section 106 Agreement.

In other words you can build your store but you must agree to honour these conditions.

The confidence expressed by the developers (but not shared by the people of Salisbury) needs to be challenged and addressed by the simple expedient of placing these liabilities before them from the start.

The possibility of the flooding which we have encountered recently being worsened by an unproven design which actually claims to improve the flood situation should be approached with the “precautionary principle” in the forefront of the minds of the decision-makers at Wiltshire Council.

The precautionary principle states that if an action has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action.

The condition imposed should be that if there is an unexpected outcome and the developers’ promises about flooding are proved wrong and the development does impact adversely on the flood plain, the developer agrees to pay appropriate compensation based on the severity of the impact.

Equally, with regard to the traffic predictions, which we are sure that no one except the developers believe, the developers should be made to accept a condition which commits them to fully underwriting the necessary road improvements should their predictions with regard to the traffic flows on the A36 and other connecting roads be proved wrong.

Now, we wonder whether the developers will have sufficient confidence in their plans to agree to these potentially expensive conditions and, even more, whether Wiltshire Council will have the courage to impose them.

What do you think?

Frank Ellis, CPRE South Wiltshire honorary secretary/treasurer

REGARDING the report by Annie Riddle (Journal, June 5) regarding the Sainsbury’s superstore plan - the Met office’s report in The Times on June 2, makes Mr Culverhouse’s remark that “managing water on site is a crucial part of our proposal”

even more incredible considering the predicted bouts of rainfall of 28mm or more in an hour over the summer and higher daily rates of rainfall during the winter towards the end of the century.

I have to ask if the design parameters of their flood prevention proposals take into account these dire predictions of the Met Office?

Does it make much sense to build/develop anything in or near flood water areas?

Alan Gibson, Winterslow 

Public opinion is against a new Sainsbury's on Southampton Road, which is already overloaded with traffic.

Making it four lane would ease the congestion but we learn, as reported by the Salisbury Civic Society, this does not meet the approval of the Highways Agency.

I would recommend that any planning application for that area of the city be put on hold until the Highways Agency can implement a workable plan for the road.

Christopher Penfold, Salisbury

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