Store decision set back to springtime

How the proposed Morrisons store would look from the front - as seen from Nottingham Road, Ripley.
How the proposed Morrisons store would look from the front - as seen from Nottingham Road, Ripley.
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Ripley folk poised to have their say on a proposed Morrisons store and hundreds of homes will have to wait again - as the meeting to decide the plan was pushed back.

The much discussed Gateway scheme on Nottingham Road was originally due to go in front of the planning board in July 2013, but it continues to be delayed.

It had been down to go to the January 20 meeting, but this week a spokesperson for the council said: “The applications were not sufficiently progressed to report to the scheduled January committee.

“The next scheduled meeting of the council’s planning board is on the February 17, 2014. At the moment it is uncertain as to whether the two applications will be sufficiently progressed to report to that meeting, although this is currently targeted.”

The delay has led to further frustration for those against the plans for the 40,000 sq ft eco-store and 126 houses.

Sylvia Mason of the green spaces campaign group Amber Valley SOS said a protest was planned outside the January 20 meeting.

She was also due to speak at the planning committee.

“People are just getting fed up with it now,” she said, though she urged folk to turn out in force when the plan finally does come to be decided.

She added: “If people don’t stand up and be counted this will just get pushed through.

“Everyone that wants to save Riley town centre and everything east of the A38 should come.”

The delay comes in a week the Midlands Co-operative Group has criticised the scheme.

Back in July the firm, which has a large store at Derby Road in the town and smaller convenience stores at Maple Avenue and Hartshay Hill, said a town centre retail study by Peacock and Smith, commissioned by Gateway developers Clowes Westerman, was biased in favour of the scheme.

The Co-op called on Amber Valley Borough Council to commission an independent report, looking into how a Morrisons on the outskirts of town would effect trade in the centre.

London firm Strategic Perspectives were contracted for the study. On October 1 it’s findings were that Morrisons would have a ‘significant adverse effect on Ripley town centre’.

It said such a store would “effectively trade side-by-side” with (nearby) Sainsbury’s to reduce town centre footfall and even stated that the move - could lead to the “potential closure” of the Derby Road Co-op store.

This week a spokesperson for Midlands Co-operative said: “The independent review confirms our belief that an out of town supermarket will be damaging to Ripley town centre.

“Our Co-operative supermarket is valued by the community and the Society continues to invest in the store and properties in Ripley town centre.

“We hope that the results of the planning committee will follow the advice given in the independent report.”

Developers Clowes Westerman has promised £2million of public improvements in Ripley to offset the impact of the store, if it gets the go ahead.

Of that £770,000 has been earmarked for ‘physical improvements’ to Ripley market Place.