Retailers in Flackwell Heath, Buckinghamshire, fear for their futures after the council decided to allow Sainsbury’s to open a store in the area, despite warnings that it would result in business closures.
Wycombe District Council had initially been sceptical of Sainsbury’s application to open a Local store and of a report carried out on behalf of the vendors of the site that stated local businesses would not be adversely affected.
A second independent assessment was carried out by retail planning consultants Strategic Partnerships, which said that the role of the village centre would be “strengthened rather than harmed by the proposed development”. However, Dr Steven Norris of Strategic Partnerships did acknowledge that some independent stores would lose trade, or be forced to close.
Despite concerns, the council has now given the development the go-ahead.
Budgens retailer Vic Grewal said the new store would destroy his business: “We’re just breaking even and this could cost us up to 20% of our business. There’s only so many customers in a town and a new store will take some away.”