On track

PUBLISHED: 16:26 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:54 06 May 2010

SIR, — The announcement (Herts Advertiser, January 29) that Sainsbury s want to expand their Everard Close store in St Albans and double the car park is a wonderful opportunity for the district council to exert its influence over this big trader and for t

SIR, - The announcement (Herts Advertiser, January 29) that Sainsbury's want to expand their Everard Close store in St Albans and double the car park is a wonderful opportunity for the district council to exert its influence over this big trader and for the wider good.

There is a heaven-sent opportunity for the council to insist that Sainsbury's puts to good effect their claim to be green.

The simplest way would be to insist on incorporation of the Abbey Station into the overall layout.

It's surely not beyond the planning expertise of both Sainsbury's and the council for rail passengers to be able to access the supermarket from the station without a several-minute additional walk round the adjacent offices.

Equally important it could bring some customers in who could forgo their car and stop discrimination against those who have no access to a car. If this happened first, perhaps the double-deck car park wouldn't be needed. Why not try it and see?

The store would benefit its staff who would not need to be dropped off by relatives on each shift or they could leave their own cars at home. Staff movement between stores in emergencies would be assisted too - there is another Sainsbury's in Watford.

How about Sainsbury's even bringing in bulk deliveries along the rail line?

The local store management have told me that they see the value of a good connection with the railway station. The Railway Partnership of local councils along with the Abbey Line users group are keen to see extra passengers. This will be more likely if real improvements are made rather than school art completions and Father Christmas events, fun though they are.

I was once on Dutch railways when the ticket collector asked where we were from. For simplicity I said near St Albans, to which he replied: "Ah, you have a cathedral and two stations."

I suggested to him that if he saw the lack of signage between the stations he would have a job to realise their existence as a tourist, let alone trying to find the shortest route from one to the other. Something practical that could be achieved and without asking Sainsbury's to pay!

I am sure that the Abbey Line Railway Partnership and the Abfly User Group have already brought these proposals to the attention of the council's planning committee, but just in case I hope they note down that Sainsbury's may well now be an open door that needs a slight municipal push.

LESLIE FREITAG,

Cravells Road, Harpenden.

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