Concern over bid for new Sainsbury in Norwich

Owner of the Premier Denmark Convenience Stores in Sprowston Road, Minesh Odedra, who has started a

Owner of the Premier Denmark Convenience Stores in Sprowston Road, Minesh Odedra, who has started a petition opposing proposals for a Sainsbury's Local at the Rush Lighting shop opposite. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

The home of a well-known Norwich business could be demolished to make way for a new Sainsbury's Local shop.

But opponents say proposals for the Rush Lighting site, on Sprowston Road, which include rebuilding the shop and two flats, will threaten nearby shops and pubs.

More than 200 people have already signed a petition opposing the shop, with congestion and access problems top of their list of concerns – but the site owner said the shop would enhance the area.

A public meeting will be held on Thursday for residents to discuss the plans with Labour city councillors.

Julie Brociek-Coulton, councillor for Sewell ward, said the area already had 'a good scatter' of other shops, with a Tesco, Costcutter, and other convenience stops within a mile radius, and a new Aldi planned for Sprowston Road.

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Minesh Odedra, manager of the Premier convenience store opposite the proposed site of the new Sainsbury's, said the competition would push his 26-year-old family business under.

'No one can understand why we are getting a Sainsbury's Local. We don't need it. This shop is not going to find new customers – it is going to pinch ours,' said Mr Odedra, 27.

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'It will put me out of business, and my staff out of jobs. The shop will be empty – what business will there be left for me?'

An application to demolish the building at 195-197 Sprowston Road, at the Gertrude Road junction, and build a Sainsbury's Local shop was submitted to Norwich City Council last month.

It would be open between 7am and 11pm seven days a week, employ 20 people and offer four parking spaces.

The future of Rush Lighting, should the plans go ahead, is not known.

Malcolm McCann, landlord of the Heath House pub on Gertrude Road, said he was concerned that alcohol sales from the shop could hit trade.

But landowner Roger Rush said he wanted to improve the look of the site, and insisted the store would be an asset.

'I think it will enhance the area. It will increase variety and let people do their shopping without taking their cars out.'

Gertrude Road resident Anna Burbidge, 24, said the area was already well provided-for with shops, and the road – which is a bus route – could not handle additional traffic.

The meeting at the Heath House pub is at 6pm on Thursday.

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