Protests in store over scheme for old church site

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OBJECTIONS are being lodged in response to plans for a convenience store on the site of an old Methodist Church in Sheffield.

Some protesters fear the proposed development for the corner of Sharrow Lane and Wostenholm Road will be a neighbourhood-style supermarket that will hit the trade of nearby independent businesses.

Concerns are also being raised about the traffic implications if the store is built on the site of the former St John’s Methodist Church.

The application is in the name of Sharrow Organic Supplies and has been submitted by DPP planning consultants, which sometimes works with Tesco.

However, a Tesco spokesperson said: “This is not a Tesco application and we do not have a contract with the developer.”

Green councillor Jillian Creasy says in a submission to the council: “I have to assume from the specifications that this is very likely to be a ‘local’ store for a major supermarket chain.

“The location is about 40 yards from the Wostenholm Road shopping parade. It’s currently nearly fully occupied and is well supported by the local community, mainly arriving on foot. A large supermarket chain store will clearly threaten the local convenience store, the sandwich shop, chemists and newsagents. And if they close then the other businesses will struggle in a half empty parade.”

Coun Creasy adds: “There are major highways issues. The application includes the creation of 11 parking spaces, which suggests there may be significant traffic movements. There are large numbers of pedestrians using these streets, including children attending the nearby primary school and the Surestart (directly opposite). As a local councillor, I have been lobbied about providing a pedestrian crossing on Sharrow Lane close the South View Road junction, because of safety problems. This application will make the safety situation worse.”

Among the objections to the council are 115 people who have signed petitions.

One resident of South View Road says it will not be an organic foods store. “I feel that a new metro-style supermarket, which is what this will be, is the last thing that this area needs. Not only are there a range of some very large supermarkets five minutes walk from this location. There are lots of independent retailers in the area, which would inevitably suffer from this further example of the advance of the monopolisation of the food industry by the select few.”

Another critic says: “I think that the traffic in the area is already very congested. At peak times this is even worse. Add to that people trying to get into the car park for the retail unit, especially those needing to turn right, and you are creating a huge traffic jam.”

But the application has some supporters. One says: “I feel the plans have been very well thought through to include off road parking which is essential in regards to retail developments such as this. I also feel that this is just the type of redevelopment this area needs. The building in question has been empty and deteriorating over time and this development would be a great improvement on the current site.”

Council officers will consider all the implications.

If permission is granted, the developers can strike a deal with potential occupiers.