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Convenience store at centre of protest ready to open
A CONVENIENCE store at the centre of a wave of protest opens its doors this week.
The new Co-operative Food store in Chandler’s Ford was the subject of an appeal last year after plans were rejected amid protest from some residents.
Following a successful planning appeal, the store is to open on Wednesday at 10am.
Southern Co-operative said the store will create 14 new jobs.
The ribbon will be cut at the Hursley Road venue with help from pupils from Chandler’s Ford Infant School.
The store will be making a £500 donation to the school in thanks and the first 100 paying customers will also receive a box of Fairtrade chocolates.
Southern Co-operative said the store will be offering chilled goods, fresh produce and butchery products, an in-store bakery and the Truly Irresistible and Fairtrade ranges.
Initial proposals to transform the former Auto Forum garage site in Hursley Road were thrown out by councillors in 2009.
Members of the Chandler’s Ford and Hiltingbury Local Area Committee voted unanimously against it, despite officers’ recommendations to give permission.
Krutika Shah, whose family has run the Spar convenience store for more than 25 years, led a campaign and had collected more than 600 signatures for a petition to stop the plans.
At the subsequent planning appeal in April and May of last year, residents raised fears that the store would have a detrimental effect on local shops, including the nearby Spar shop, and that it would cause further traffic congestion in the area, noise and was unnecessary.
However, a Government planning inspector ruled that it was in line with local and national planning policy and should be allowed with conditions.
He said the noise would not be that much more than already experienced and other disturbance would not be “unduly harmful” and that strong local opposition was not sufficient grounds to reject the plans.