Crosby Labour MP Bill Esterson urges whole community to have the

Veronica Bennett and Bill Esterson


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has this week received written confirmation from Sainsbury's that they are about to launch a public consultation on their future plans for Crosby Village.

Bill has been in contact with the supermarket giant since meeting the company's head of planning Sue Willcox and zone director for the North of England Dean Clegg in Parliament earlier in the summer.

Throughout the Labour MP has been urging the company to fully consult with residents of Crosby before making plans for the Village.

Sainsbury's original plans for the Crosby Village store were rejected by Sefton Planning Committee in the summer of 2010 amid accusations that they had failed to consult with the public.

But the store has now listened to Bill and announced that they will be launching a comprehensive consultation - including having the public submit their own designs for the store in a series of workshops.

In a letter to the Labour MP, Sainsbury's stated: "It's just over a year now since our plans for a new store in Crosby were rejected as planning comittee but I'm delighted to say that Sainsbury's is about to re-engage in a consultation process that will, we hope, lead to a fresh planning application and a new Sainsbury's for Crosby Village. We'd like to meet you to explain the process going forwards.

"We have always said that should Sainsbury's decide to bring forward new plans, then the first stage would be - as always - community consultation. So there are no plans at moment other than plans to consult.

"We are keen to work with the Crosby community and explore ideas generated locally. As a first step, therefore, we are planning to hold a design charette - an intensive, hands-on workshop to bring together people from different backgrounds to explore options for this site.

"We want to include community members, design professionals the local authority and the project team in our charette process to capture Sainsbury's and the community's vision, values, and ideas of the community. As a result of this engagement, our architects and planners will sketch out alternative ideas to present at a follow up meeting.

"The meeting will be led by our chosen architect for the site, Laurie Chetwood. Laurie Chetwood founded his form, Chetwoods in 1988 and it is now one of the top 20 practices in the UK and recognised as a leader inn sustainable design incorporating all sustainable principles - economic, social and environmental."

Bill Esterson said it appeared as though Sainsbury's did want to listen to the views of local people on the scheme.

Bill said: "The company is making clear its intention to listen to the view of the residents and they want local people to be at the heart of the plans they produce.

"I will continue to ensure that the company does listen to what people in Crosby want for the future of their Village and I am sure lots of people in the town will want to take part in Sainsbury's consultation."

Crosby Labour Action Team's Veronica Bennett said the team was inundated with residents complaining about the plans last year.

Veronica said: "There were hundreds and hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls from people throughout the time of the original application and there still are because people want to see the Village regenerated.

"Living in Crosby myself I know all too well how much the shopping area needs investment and regeneration. But we the community need to have our say in how our Village is developed."

The Labour MP said the regeneration of the Village is still one of the main issues which residents of Crosby raise.

Bill said: "I obviously speak to lots of people in Crosby each and every day. I spend a lot of time knocking on people's doors here finding out what their concerns are so that I know what issues people want me to take up.

"As a resident of Sefton I feel that is a key part of my job.

"Time and time again the issue of the regeneration of the Village comes up. But while people want to see Sainsbury's making the Village better, they don't want to see the supermarket over-run the town centre.

"Because of that this community declared a firm 'no' to Sainsbury's previous plans because there was a distinct feeling that the scale of the development would have seen Crosby being turned into Sainsbury'sville.

"The message was clear - Sainsbury's needs to be a key part in a thriving and varied Crosby Village.

"It appears that Sainsbury's have learned from that and are now putting the people at the heart of the process of drawing up the plans. I need to ensure that the company lives up to that promise."

Initial public meetings to discuss the consultation process, Sainsbury's are holding a series of meetings in the Crosby Room in St Luke's Church on October 26 and 27.



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