Senior councillor lashes out at Sainsbury’s over Spalding pod battle

Councillors fear more pedestrians will walk through disabled parking bays with the pod in place. SG020817-201TW
Councillors fear more pedestrians will walk through disabled parking bays with the pod in place. SG020817-201TW
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Sainsbury’s had a broadside from a senior South Holland councillor after the firm tried to get its costs back when it won a planning appeal for a Timpson pod on Holland Market, Spalding.

South Holland’s planning committee unanimously refused the application seven months ago, saying it would harm the character and appearance of the area and be a danger to pedestrians.

But, after a planning inspector ruled in the supermarket’s favour, district council planning chairman Coun Roger Gambba-Jones said on Twitter: “Sainsbury’s win pod appeal & show how predatory, arrogant & dismissive they are of genuine local concerns by trying to get their costs back.”

Coun Gambba-Jones says the planning inspector told Sainsbury’s to “go whistle”, refusing them the costs and deciding the council’s reasons for refusal were genuine.

He said: “Ultimately it was about the weight given to those reasons.”

The pod will go in front of Wilkos and Sainsbury’s, which Coun Gambba-Jones describes as a pinch-point.

“It’s a bad location for pedestrian movement at the best of times,” he said. “You already find people walking through the disabled parking slots and now they going to have even more reason to do it.”

The pod will offer services including dry cleaning, shoe repairs and key cutting.

Last November, more than a dozen Spalding traders united to oppose the pod, with dry cleaner Geoff Neal saying trade was tough in the High Street and “this would probably be another nail in the coffin”.

David McAllister, of J B Shoe Repairs in Pied Calf Yard, said 14 town centre traders would be affected because Sainsbury’s was “hoovering up” all the niche services into one pod.

This week, Mr McAllister said: “South Holland District Council have been fantastic, they have fought it tooth and nail. They have been adamant they don’t want it, even for aesthetic reasons – it looks like a shed, it really does.”

He says it would have been far better if the new business went into one of the town’s vacant shops, which include Brantano on Holland Market

Following criticism from Coun Gambba-Jones and comments from Mr McAllister a spokesman for Sainsbury’s told us: “We are pleased with the outcome of the appeal.

“The Timpson pod will provide greater choice and a range of convenient services for our customers.”

Previously ...

Shoe repair pod plan for Spalding is turned down by council

Spalding traders fight “nail in the coffin” supermarket plan

Timpsons to bring new services to Sainsbury’s in Spalding?