August 28, 2012 - Bill Esterson's Westminster Diary

Bill Esterson


 

The decision by Sainsbury’s not to develop a larger store in the centre of Crosby has caused a lot of concern for residents and for traders. The neglect of the centre of the Village is of big concern for everyone connected with Crosby. 

 
Similar concerns exist about Formby Village and also about Maghull. 
 
Indeed the decline of our town centres is a national problem and in the middle of a double dip recession, it is that much harder to resolve the problems as the public sector has been cut to the bone at the same time that the private sector is not investing.

There was widespread opposition to the plans put forward by Sainsbury’s. Many people felt that the plans were way too big, that the proposal from Sainsbury’s was for a huge store in keeping with those usually found in out of town retail parks. 
 
Equally, most people were happy for Sainsbury’s to develop a bigger store but only if it was in keeping with the Village. 
 
The majority view was that Sainsbury’s was a key part of the revival of Crosby Village but that it should be part of that revival along with the other businesses in the Village centre.
 
So when the planning committee rejected the original planning application, there was public agreement. And when it appeared that Sainsbury’s were working with representatives of the Crosby community and with Sefton Council, people were reassured that a compromise was possible that allowed Sainsbury’s to expand at the same time as retaining the character of the Village and supporting the other traders.

In the end, Sainsbury’s did not put forward an alternative plan for a bigger store. This was after long discussions with groups like A Better Crosby and after it appeared that a compromise had been reached. 
 
People I speak to would like to have seen a compromise. Many still think the original “Sainsburysville” giant store was the wrong plan because it was too big. 
 
I hope that Sainsbury’s will reconsider their decision not to redevelop the parts of the Village they own. It is a big concern that there are derelict sites in the middle of the village. 
 
I have asked for a meeting with Sainsbury’s to talk about their plans to improve the existing store. I will press them to make sure that the eyesores around the village are kept tidy until development can start. I will also take the opportunity to press Sainsbury’s to reconsider their decision not to invest in Crosby.