NEARLY all of Ripley’s town centre traders have added their names to a petition opposing a proposed supermarket.
So far, multi-million pound plans by property developers Clowes Westerman to change the landscape of Nottingham Road have received a mixed reaction from nearby residents.
The proposals for a large eco-superstore, the first stage of the long awaited relief road between Ripley and Langley Mill, new sports facilities at the Pit-Top area and around 130 new homes could be completed by 2013 if planning permission is granted.
But this week a petition started by Grosvenor Road department store owner David Clarke has gathered names from 32 of the town centre’s independent businesses.
It asks developers to abandon its plans, claiming that research suggests out of town superstores can have a ‘detrimental effect on the viability of town centres’.
Mr Clarke said: “If the plan goes ahead we could face terrible traffic congestion we could face empty units within the surrounding towns, and we could get sports facilities that are not adequate and in the wrong place.”
Mr Clarke questioned the promise by Clowes Westerman, that 300 jobs would be created at the superstore.
He said small businesses tended to have a higher concentration of staff than superstores – adding that 300 jobs could also be lost in the town centre if plans go ahead.
Amy Williams, owner of Polka-Dot Florists, on Grosvenor Road, signed the petition. She said: “I think it will draw attention away from the town centre if something of that size is built out there.”
The owner of the Butcher’s Shop, on Oxford Street, Paul Walker, has added his name. He said: “I feel we have more than enough supermarkets, traders are struggling enough as it is.”
Amber Valley Borough Council, owns the 11 acre Nottingham Road Playing Fields and has entered into an ‘exclusivity agreement’ with Clowes Westerman to find a store operator and conduct public consultations.
Leader of the council Stuart Bradford, said: “We have received a copy of the petition and the views expressed will be taken into account when the council makes a final decision on the proposal. I would ask residents and retailers to look at the proposals in detail, and attend the public exhibitions to obtain the facts. We will consider all the relevant information as part of the robust decision making that this proposal will be subjected to.”