A local authority has rejected a planning application from Sainsbury’s to build a convenience store in the Wirral area.

Wirral Borough Council refused Sainsbury’s application on highway safety grounds and because it did not comply with national planning policy. “The proposed retail development at this site would not promote the vitality and viability of existing town centres within the borough,” council officers said. The plan was to redevelop a former car showroom in Heswall.

Kerry Garside, manager of the nearby Spar in Irby, said the decision had probably saved the store. “We’re made up. It would have affected us big time, we wouldn’t have remained open.” A Tesco Express had recently opened in the area which had depressed sales, “but the two schools across the road are keeping us going,” Kerry told C-Store.

She said the council’s decision may have been influenced by pressure from residents, a number of whom had signed a petition in protest at the application. 

Sainsbury’s has the right to appeal so long as it is within 6 months of the date of the refusal notice. The appeal would be determined by an independent planning inspector acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said it was now consiering its options. “We are disappointed that the council refused our application to redevelop the former Lookers car showroom on Pensby Road in Heswall as we believe that the area would benefit from a Sainsbury’s Local. 

“We are currently considering our options and will continue to work closely with the council going forward.”