THE Civic Society in Salisbury has added its voice to chorus of concern being raised about the plan to build a new Sainsbury’s store in the city.

The Gateway project would see a new supermarket built opposite the Tesco store off Southampton Road, with parking, a petrol station, road alterations and a wetlands area.

But people living in the city fear it would add to existing traffic problems on the busy Southampton Road and increase the risk of flooding.

Last week Salisbury Vision publically confirmed its reservations about the project, and Salisbury Civic Society has now expressed its “strong opposition” to the application.

It objects on the grounds of the impact on the city centre, the concentration of too many supermarkets in one area, the impact on the landscape and the future implications for the eastern side of the city.

Chairman Peter Dunbar said: “The potential exists for a positive gateway to the city, emphasising the natural rather than the built environment.

“Achievement of this depends on a strategic, wide0ranging approach, not one based on seeking commercial advantages from one particular site.”

The developers say alterations to the Bourne Way roundabout and other road improvements will make traffic better rather than worse and that its efforts to store and release water gradually back into the river will mean flooding will not be any more of a risk than it is now.

They have said no other suitable site exists and that they want to be in close proximity to Tesco.

But the Civic Society fears a development would have a detrimental impact on the plan to revamp and revitalise the Maltings and Central car park area of the city centre.

“The proposed retail-led development of the Maltings and central car park is seen by planners as important for the commercial vitality of the city centre and is written into planning policy as a key element within the South Wilts Core Strategy.

“The superstore idea has no such official backing and the society sees it as a challenge to the Maltings and central car park scheme and likely to be damaging to the retail health of the city centre.

Sainsbury’s has an existing store in the Maltings and says it plans to remain in the city centre.

Ross Castle, portfolio development manager at Sainsbury’s, said: “Sainsbury’s has been investing in Salisbury for over 25 years and remains committed to improving the city centre store as part of the wider Central Car Par /The Maltings development.”

The planning application number is 14/03690/FUL and it can be viewed on the council’s website.