Sainsbury’s application to extend loading bay with the loss of over 60 trees and potential noise increase.

Woodland between Devoil Close and Sainsbury’s looking from The Copse.

For the most part, Sainsbury’s Supermarket is a good neighbour: convenient, friendly and community-minded. But in the small hours, this changes. Freight comes in and out of the loading bay as goods are unpacked. Reversing beeps and the clank of pallets are at their most disruptive between one and three o’clock in the morning, weekdays
and weekends.

Sainsbury’s is now planning to expand their loading and delivery van parking bay into the green area which buffers the supermarket from the Weybrook Estate, and just across the road from the long-suffering residents of London Road. The new parking spaces for delivery vehicles may bode ill for traffic density, but unloading is an immediate threat to residents’ sleep.

Burpham Community Association took the unusual step of posting an alert to adjacent householders to view the plans before the consultation expired
on 14th October. Respondents have complained about the threat of night-time noise and also about the loss of precious green space which backs on to houses. One reply contains an authoritative account of the wildlife threatened by the development.

The Burpham Neighbourhood Plan specifically rejects the erosion of its remaining patches of green, and those of us who live nearby think of the woods as protection against traffic fumes and a pleasant back-route for shopping and dog-walking.

Supermarkets have teams of planners and lawyers whose job it is to win expansion for their stores. One small gain becomes the springboard for the next. How long before an application goes in to route heavy goods vehicles on and off the London Road? And after that, how long before they are joined by the traffic from the Gosden Hill development and the re-routing of Slyfield traffic? Our traffic infrastructure is already overloaded.

Piecemeal planning has not been helpful to Burpham – the Aldi traffic jam is evidence of that – so we should not be surprised if there is vigorous opposition to the plan.
Sue Hackman (BCA)

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