Campaigning to curb supermarket power

Leominster, Herefordshire

The small market town of Leominster in Herefordshire  (pop 11,000) is beset by plans for 2 edge-of-town supermarkets : a Sainsbury's store of 50,000 square feet and another Class A1 food store (brand as yet unknown) of 45,000 square feet being pursued by the developer Morbaine.

Leominster already has two medium-sized town centre superstores - Co-op and Aldi and a large out-of-town Morrisons. The latter opened as a Safeway in 1991 and hit the town centre very badly, with a number of shops closing. Shopkeepers are worried that they are now facing the 'final blow.'  The town centre has just lost its last free public car park - charges have been introduced by the county council. The new stores, if built, will be offering hundreds of free car parking spaces - 500 in the case of Sainsburys.

A group of town & rural residents who value their market town and its range of shops and services have banded together to form 'The Friends of Leominster' to speak up for the town centre, its trade and tourism.

Herefordshire County of
United Kingdom
52° 13' 15.852" N, 2° 44' 18.0312" W
Herefordshire County of GB

Campaign Updates
Leominster, Herefordshire

24 September 2014
Both supermarket applications are refused

Herefordshire Council's planning committee today refused permission for two new stores on Mill Street and Southern Avenue.Both were scaled down versions of original plans rejected earlier this year.

24 April 2014
Morbaine Ltd submits new planning application

For a food store on the current site of Thomas Panels on Southern Avenue. The new plans are for a store now 10,000 square feet smaller than the original design.

15 April 2014
New application submitted

Town Councillors met to debate a new application from FH Dales after the company was refused permission to build an 85,000sq ft Sainsbury’s store on its Mill Street site in January. Now bidding for a 36,000sq ft supermarket with a sales area of 25,000sq ft, the application has dropped both its request for a petrol station – due to environmental concerns – and plans for up to 50 new homes.

8 January 2014
Councillors refuse two applications
18 September 2013
Councillors defer decision on Morbaine plans for 2 months

Despite Council planning officers presenting a comprehensive report concluding with (what appeared to be) a rock-solid five point recommendation for refusal. It followed a study by the council's consultants, Deloitte, who warned the plan threatened the future viability of Leominster's 'vulnerable' town centre. A director of the industrial concern which owns the site protested that the company had been taken by surprise by the planning officers' recommendation which they learned of only a week before the meeting. The chief planning officer replied that discussions took place over a long period and read out email correspondence which showed the company was fully aware of the planning department's position. 

7 May 2013
Town Council backs Sainsbury's plans

But say that a major objection over rail crossing safety must be resolved. Network Rail has objected to the plans because increased traffic flow over an automated half-barrier level crossing near the development site is unacceptable as it would increase the risk of accidents.

30 April 2013
Action group call on Town Council to reject plans

The friends of Leominster town centre action group are recommending county planners refuse permission for a 50,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s store. 

15 January 2013
Public meeting held