Sainsbury's contacted BANG to propose a meeting to discuss their planned new local store in Broomhill and this meeting was held during October. This is a brief summary of what we discussed.
The store will occupy the unit being vacated by Williamson's, who are moving next door to the unit vacated by Blackwells. It will be at the top end of the size range for a Sainsbury's local store. The nearest example to what is planned is the 'local' on the 'town' end of the Ecclesall Rd.
The manager will have discretion to respond to local wishes as regards stock, up to a point. For example a staffed delicatessan counter 'is not part of the local offering'; nor is home drop-off of shopping. Nothing was absolutely ruled out though, so it will be important to make sure that we give the manager feedback on what we want. We discussed our hope that the store would not compete aggressively with valued local independent shops but would complement what they provide and be an asset to all sections of the local community.
Opening hours will be 7am to 11pm. When we questioned why they had applied for licensing hours 6am to 24.00 we were told that this was a standard practice of head office but they had no intention EVER of opening after 11pm. We were also assured that Sainsbury's local stores do not feature bulk buy alcohol promotions.
The signage for local stores usually conforms to a standard package, however Sainsbury's did appear to be genuinely sympathetic to a different response in Broomhill that would be more in keeping with our conservation area.
Sainsbury's were aware of problems with parking and the under-use of the rooftop car park due to a history of aggressive management. An idea that they proposed to mitigate the parking problem was a refund of the car park charges for customers who spent beyond a certain level in the store. This would obviously be useful for getting people to reconsider using the car park. Current rate for one hour is 60p, which is 20p more than on-street parking, but less than the cost of driving to Waitrose.
The shop will not open until after Christmas.