Jun 27 2012 by Kaiya Marjoribanks, Stirling Observer Wednesday
CONCERNS have been raised over plans for a supermarket at Barbush in Dunblane after developer Gladman submitted a full planning application for a retail development.
The move follows the granting of outline planning permission through an appeal in February this year .
While a judicial review is currently being carried out on one aspect of the February appeal decision, Gladman have in the meantime submitted a full application for their retail development.
Green councillor for Dunblane and Bridge of Allan Mark Ruskell says he and Dunblane retailers are concerned that details about the proposed supermarket and how it would operate are too vague and could lead to an attempt to “replicate the High Street” driving down footfall in the city centre.
And he added that, while Sainsbury’s has until now been the expected final operator of the potential retail outlet on the Gladman site, so far there has been no confirmation from Gladman that will be the case and “no indication of whether future plans could include a cafe, pharmacy, butcher meat counter and a substantial quantity of non-food sales areas”.
Councillor Ruskell said: “There is massive uncertainty now over what kind of superstore will emerge at Barbush and even those who would have welcomed a modest Sainsbury's will be having doubts.
“There are big questions about how it would be run.
“It's time Gladman came clean on the details of how the store would be configured, only then can the real impact on our High Street can be properly judged.”
Helen Gourley, owner of The Hub in Dunblane, said: “If the supermarket is permitted to become a one-stop shop then that is what it will become, no matter how attractive the offering on the High Street.
“But if shoppers can't buy gifts for example at the supermarket, they may choose to use the High Street instead and while visiting buy their steak pie or veg locally too.
“We need to encourage choice and diversity throughout the town and the only way to do that is to control the impact large grocers have on the High Street.”
A Gladman spokesperson said: “Following the reporter's decision to grant planning permission in principle for our proposed food store, petrol filling station and office pavilion development at Barbush we have been keen to progress with our plans despite the challenge lodged by The Kippendavie Group Trust which is promoting the development of a food store on the site of the New Dunblane Golf Club House and car park.
“The findings of the recent survey undertaken by Keith Brown MSP of all Dunblane households which overwhelmingly backed our site at Barbush as the preferred location for a new food store has given us the confidence together with an allocation in the draft Local Development Plan to continue with the planning process despite the ongoing appeal.
“Accordingly we have now secured detailed planning consent for the proposed office pavilion element of the development and we are in the process of progressing the detailed application for the food store and petrol filling station.
“It remains our intention to develop office accommodation on a speculative basis as part of the mixed use proposals.
There are no material changes to our proposals for the medium sized store in terms of the detailed application which will of course be subject to the approval of council officials and any conditions they may apply.
“Effectively we are not seeking to introduce anything new to our proposals which have been widely debated and supported in the local community. We are merely trying to progress our proposals from an ‘in principle’ consent to a ‘detailed’ consent to allow for this major economic development to commence at the earliest opportunity.
“Discussions with the operator will be confirmed once the planning position has been finally clarified.”
Sainsburys declined to comment on Councillor Ruskell’s comments.
Last year the retailer, which committed to engaging with local traders, overwhelmingly emerged as the preferred choice in a survey on the issue of a new supermarket for Dunblane.
More than a fifth of all households in the town responded to the survey carried out by local MSP Keith Brown.