Sainsbury's should be granted approval to make changes to its supermarket scheme in Dorridge, councillors were told this week.
Solihull’s planning committee were due to decide on Wednesday (August 7) whether the high street giant should get the go-ahead to amend the plans originally granted permission in November 2011.
The council’s planning officers have said the amendments should be approved so that Sainsbury’s could press ahead with the regeneration of the derelict Forest Court site.
The scheme, which was contentious from the outset, was mired in fresh controversy this year when the supermarket suggested it would not start work until 2014 at the earliest.
A backlash from residents forced a hasty rethink and Sainsbury’s announced a few months later it could start work by the end of the summer - although it first wanted to secure planning permission to increase the sales area.
Ahead of the meeting, Sainsbury’s was facing some tough questions from both those who were in favour and opposed to the original development.
The campaign to get work started, led by local mum Lynda Hatcher, said that Sainsbury’s needed to set out a clear timetable if they received permission for the amended plans.
Resident Mandy Cowan added: “I strongly support the proposal and look forward to Sainsbury’s moving quickly to restore our village back so it doesn’t look like an eyesore as it currently does.”
But those who fought the development from the outset have accused Sainsbury’s of trying to win permission to build a store on a comparable scale to a scheme previously refused in 2010.
Matthew Walker, formerly a member of the Dorridge Residents Opposed to Village Superstore (DROVS) said: “This store is now significantly bigger than the one Sainsbury’s were granted permission to build. It will be damaging to Dorridge.”
Ward councillor Ken Meeson (Con, Dorridge & Hockley Heath) maintains that the majority of residents are just keen to see work get underway on the empty shopping precinct.