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Sainsbury's wins fight to open three hours longer in Portswood
RESIDENTS and traders have reacted with disappointment after a Southampton superstore won its appeal to open earlier and later.
Sainsbury’s has won permission to extend trading hours at its new Portswood store by three hours on Mondays to Saturdays.
Residents fear the decision will see other shops in the area move for longer opening hours, while rival independent traders, who warned the move would be “the final nail in the coffin” for them, said they fear their businesses will suffer.
The independent Planning Inspectorate upheld the grocery giant’s argument that it should be able to open the store from 7am to 11pm.
Inspector Mary O’Rourke said Southampton City Council had been “inconsistent” in its reasons for refusing the chain permission to open beyond 9pm.
The authority initially said it wanted to protect local residents, but then imposed restrictions at the planning stage, saying it wanted to safeguard other Portswood traders.
But Ms O’Rourke said extending Sainsbury’s hours would have “no significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Portswood district centre”
and would not cause any “significant disturbance” to those living nearby.
Ward councillor Adrian Vinson said he was unhappy with the decision.
The Lib Dem representative said: “I think this is disappointing, and it could have an adverse effect on small businesses in Portswood High Street.”
Steven Fuller, manager of Long’s greengrocer in Portswood Road, said he believed the superstore, which opened in March, is already having an impact.
He said: “Gannaways in Portswood closed partly because of them. It will take more students off us in terms of custom and takes business away from us.”
Highfield Residents Association spokesman Jerry Gillen said the decision will also impact residents.
He said: “What it would mean now is that Waitrose and other businesses have a legitimate reason to open late too.
“We have enough problems already with student noise and nuisance, I do not see it serving the community.”
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said the firm was “pleased” with the decision, which she said will allow more flexibility for customers and make the store more accessible, and argued it would not affect other traders.
She said: “We anticipate that those shoppers who need to shop during these extended hours would be attracted from other stores further afield that open later, rather than shoppers who would otherwise use the district centre.”
No one from Southampton City Council was available for comment.
- Additional reporting by Michael Carr
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