St Albans supermarket gets the go-ahead for expansion

PUBLISHED: 18:41 14 February 2011

St Albans City and District Council

St Albans City and District Council

Archant

CONTENTIOUS plans to extend a St Albans supermarket have got the go-ahead from councillors although additional conditions will be imposed in order to preserve the quality of life of nearby residents.

The Sainsbury’s store on Everard Close was granted planning permission to extend the store at a planning referrals committee meeting last week. Councillors stipulated that proposals to install glazed windows on the proposed north east roof extension would need to specify the type of glazing to prevent further light pollution to the residents on Leyland Avenue and avoid any invasion of their privacy.

Cllr David Poor who attended the meeting in support of residents from Leyland Avenue told the committee that the light pollution from the store was already a major problem and “very intrusive”. He said that many families with young children lived in those homes and were constantly disturbed by the light and already had to buy thick black-out curtains because of the light from the store.

Cllr Poor also said he “took umbrage” over the lack of public consultation regarding the amended plans.

The original application was submitted in late 2009 and public consultation, in early 2010, drew many complaints and concerns from a number of interested parties. The application was subsequently amended and although the new plans were received by the council in November, they were not made available to the public until January 24, just over a week before the committee met to discuss the planning application.

Process

Cllr Poor called on the council to address this problem in their planning process and ensure that plans amended and resubmitted after a certain length of time be put to public consultation all over again.

Planning officer, Martin Westwood, explained that there was no legal requirement to re-consult about the plans and that the council looked at the revised plans to see if the amendments had taken into account the concerns raised by interested parties last year.

Rebecca Prebble, spokesperson for residents living on Leyland Avenue, said they accepted that the new application had taken into account most of their concerns but they were glad that councillors recognised the potential invasion of their privacy with the installation of glazed windows.

She said: “We didn’t expect the committee to reject the revised application on Wednesday and we are pleased that the committee listened to us, accepted our point of view and incorporated appropriate conditions.

“I don’t think this would have happened if we hadn’t attended the meeting and spoken out at it.”

The store will also be required to make clear the arrangements for their service yard management to avoid late-night deliveries or further disturbance to people in the area. During the meeting, chairman of planning referrals, Cllr Chris Brazier, said he would be looking into claims that the store was taking deliveries in the early hours of the morning.

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