HONEYBOURNE will be getting a brand new Co-op store despite a passionate plea from the family run village shop that its arrival would ‘force the closure’ of their business
The supermarket, which will be built on land off Sycamore Drive, gained approval at a recent planning meeting of Wychavon District Council, with seven councillors voting in favour, four against and two abstentions.
Co-op chiefs claim the new store will create between 20 to 25 jobs when it is open for business, with building work set to commence in the summer ready for opening in early 2017.
At the meeting, councillors also heard how more than 600 villagers signed a petition against the development, with many saying they were left angered after there will no longer be an overflow car park which Co-op first promised in their initial application.
Concerns were also raised about the impact the supermarket would have on the village’s current Premier shop.
Owner of the village shop, Sarah Mason, pleaded with councillors to reject the application.
“I have lived in the village for over 30 years and know the people and the community,” Mrs Mason said.
“Over the last 15 years we have invested enormous amounts of time, effort and personal resources to provide the service our customers require.
“The Co-op predicts a turnover of £1.5million to £2million.
“This can only be met, firstly by forcing the closure of our village shop and taking its trade, and in addition by creating a destination supermarket drawing in customers and therefore traffic from a wide surrounding area.
“Whilst the Co-op is happily boasting of the creation of 20 new jobs, 15 local people will potentially lose their jobs when our village shop closes.”
In response, Rose Fox from Alder King Planning Consultants, which represents Co-op, said: “It is completely understandable people are concerned about the future and viability of a local business.
“In preparing the application we anticipated this maybe a concern and accordingly we voluntarily undertook a retail impact assessment.
“This assessed the impact of the proposal on the Premier store.
“It concludes that the Co-op would not divert significant trade from the Premier store; this is because the stores will serve different areas of the village.
“To confirm, there is sufficient trade capacity in the locality to serve both stores.”