Bid to overturn shop verdict

SAINSBURY’S this week urged a Government inspector to overturn the council’s rejection of plans to expand the Millhouses store by 40%.

The company was giving evidence at a public inquiry which followed its appeal against the verdict of local politicians, who overturned a recommendation by their officers.

Sainsbury’s barrister Timothy Corner QC said: “The council officers were right to recommend the application be approved and nothing has changed since then.

“This development will bring substantial improvements and the appeal should therefore be allowed.”

Mr Corner said the proposed extension, along with relocating the store entrance and rebuilding the car park, would generate jobs and improve the appearance of the area.

He said the impact on the roads and air quality – the council’s justification for the refusal – would be ‘imperceptible’ and green measures in the scheme would actually decrease pollution levels.

But council planning officer Chris Heeley warned of the effect on the junctions of Abbeydale Road with Archer Road, Springfield Road and Bannerdale Road.

He said: “These junctions are congestion hot spots and result in significant queuing. There’s a history of accidents and I consider additional vehicles will increase this risk. The predicted increase in traffic of 109 and 142 vehicles per hour, at weekday and Saturday peaks respectively, is significant.”

Mr Heeley said air quality in the Abbeydale corridor already breaches EU limit for nitrogen dioxide, which would be worsened if the store was extended.

Nearly 1,000 people have objected to the scheme.

Government inspector Ian Jenkins was hearing submissions from Sainsbury’s, the council and residents at the three-day hearing and will announce his decision at a later date.

The hearing continues.