HUNDREDS of people have backed an appeal by traders to stop a Sainsbury’s store from opening in Barbourne.
The petition, which has secured about 1,000 signatures, was launched after it emerged the supermarket giant wanted to turn the former InToto furniture store on Barbourne Road into a Sainsbury’s Local.
An application has now been submitted to Worcester City Council and, if approved, developers Hinton Properties say the new store could create up to 25 jobs.
However, Kanthasamy Sriprabakaran, manager at The Modern Newsagents said its arrival would cause many small businesses in the area to shut down.
“We have invested quite a lot of money and hard work into this business, but if Sainsbury’s comes we will have no choice but to close down,” he said,
“It won’t happen for a few years as we have regular customers, but looking long term small shops like us can’t survive.
“We can’t compete with them. You only need to look at what happened when Tesco arrived in the city centre as the Good News newsagents shut down after a few months.”
Rozia Hussain, of Select and Save on Barbourne Walk, also believed the store would cause further parking problems in the area as she felt a 12-space car park, which the developer is hoping to create at the rear of the store, would not be enough to cope with demand.
Tesco failed in its bid to build a store on Barbourne Road in 2008 and Jaswinder Kaur, manager at Costcutter, said traders would do all they could to convince planning chiefs to reject the application.
“We will fight as much as we can,” she said. “There were pages and pages full of signatures and the people who come into the shop said there is no need for Sainsbury’s as there was already a Co-Op nearby.
“The council turned down Tesco, so I don’t see why they can’t turn down this application.”
Coun Joy Squires, councillor for the Arboretum, said she understood their concerns, but she said some shop owners felt a Sainsbury’s Local would “revitalise” the area.
“Obviously the knock-on effect is a concern and nobody wants to see shops going out of business,” she added. “But it is also a question of balancing all interests as competition can help businesses thrive.”
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “We are disappointed to hear of a petition against our proposals, particularly as we’ve had positive feedback from a number of local businesses.
“We remain confident that a new Sainsbury’s Local would bring significant investment and genuine benefits to the area by creating over 20 new jobs and providing more food choice for local residents. A new store would also increase footfall, which would benefit local traders by keeping more people in the area shopping locally.”