A WAR of words has broken out over accusations of ‘bullying’ by a leading supermarket which plans to build a foodstore on a beleaguered shopping precinct in Dorridge.
Sainsbury’s has this week submitted its proposals for Forest Court to Solihull Council following extensive public consultation and offers to help relocate those shops affected.
However a resident and customer of Redcurrant Deli, one of the businesses affected by the plans, claims the popular deli has been ‘forced ‘out by the supermarket giant and the owners were at ‘breaking point’.
Jon Jennings, of Westfield Close said: “Redcurrant Deli is a profitable and prosporous business serving the community. Sainsbury’s were meant to negotiate a new premises with the owners but have kept moving the goalposts by raising new possible rents and adding ‘extra’ charges in a systematic campaign to force them out.
“I believe this is a case of big corporation bullies. Are there to be no local traders anymore? Do we want soulless communities with big corporations running everything and no enterprise?”
The owners of the deli declined to comment when we approached them. However the Solihull News decided to talk to other businesses in Forest Court.
Tony Craig has owned Dorridge Butchers for almost seven years. He has built up a loyal and regular customer base in the village but is hopeful that Sainsbury’s will relocate his business in Dorridge.
“I do need to stay in Dorridge and it is important to have an independent butcher. I have a nice regular clientele and to be fair Sainsbury’s have been very helpful with negotiations. I feel quite happy with what they have said to me.”
The owner of specialist card shop Jo Jo’s, Linda Butler is also happy with proposals to date. “They have said I might be able to have a new unit here but I could be out of business for a year while the store is built. They have been up front though.”
But Enzo Cucchiara from nearby hair salon Enzo’s said: “What really is the truth of the matter? If the ladies at the deli have been offered a unit that’s fine but if it takes 18 months to build and set up then there should be compensation. How long before the big boys take over? My customers talk about the store and many people want it to go ahead but not if it’s a monstrosity.”
Sue Bailey, spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s added: “Sainsbury’s development team have worked really hard to address all the aspirations in moving forward and we have been keeping in constant touch with the retailers because it has been a lengthy consultation period. We have been talking to a number of businesses to make sure that our final proposals now submitted address this.”
The plans are now on display in the former Burchell Edwards estate agents in Forest Court and are available to view online at www.sainsburysdorridge.co.uk
The detailed application is available to view at the Council offices or online at www.solihull.gov.uk.