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Scotforth Residents see Red over Supermarket plans

Author: 
John Freeman
Protestors will be gathering in Scotforth tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 11th March) to campaign against two proposed out-of-town supermarkets -- which would create a traffic nightmare for residents and suck trade from the city centre.

In either April or May, Lancaster City Council will decide whether to approve planning applications for two new supermarkets, a hotel, petrol station and 500-space car park at Lawson’s Bridge – the fields to the west of Scotforth Road near the University they sold back in 2008, to the dismay of residents.

One of the proposed supermarkets is a replacement Booths store, with the possibility of a cheaper food shop like Aldi taking over the existing Booths store.

The other out-of-town supermarket is likely to be a much bigger Tesco or Asda, creating a horrible ‘big box’ entrance to Lancaster and sucking trade away from the city centre.

Campaigners against the plans day this store would be 57 per cent bigger than the Lancaster Sainsbury’s, about twice as big as the new Booths and over five times bigger than the existing Booths. One third of its floorspace would be for ‘comparison goods’ (clothes, electrical items, furnishings, etc).

The traffic assessments predict that there will be severe congestion in Scotforth if these plans are approved - and that's on top of the problems the building of the first phase of the Bailrigg Science Park which already has planning permission, may cause.

If you've ever tried to get out of Lancaster after work down the A6, be warned that it's entirely possible the afternoon ‘rush hour’ will be more like three hours long, with queues of 235 vehicles at the Boot & Shoe crossroads heading north. Buses will get stuck in these huge traffic jams, as well as cars and commercial vehicles.

Some local councillors don't seem to think any of this will be a problem - in fact, readers may recall Labour Councillor Sheila Denwood merrily dismissed resident concerns about future use when it was sold off (see news story), claiming that the idea that it would  be sold for a supermarket was just a myth.

• If you don't like the sound of this, then Green Councillor Emily Heath has organized a protest and photo shoot this Saturday (12th March). Meet at 3.00pm by Rowley Court (opposite the Boot & Shoe and please wear red (for ‘Residents see red...’) if possible. Everyone welcome!

• More info from emilyATheath.greenisp.org or call 01524 380169.
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