|Affluent Ripon's historic square where Sainsbury's have tailored their store to fit in sympathetically with the surroundings|
|Working town Colne in Lancashire - have a similar designed store to the one rejected by Sefton last year|
ABetterCrosby's birth was a painful and sudden one in 2010 when it was brought it kicking and screaming into the world (over a pint in the Crows Nest). Initially a group campaigning to stop an ill conceived plan to plonk a white retail park styled monster on top of Crosby village, since then the group has taken its first tentative steps towards becoming a community group to promote the interests of Crosby and its residents and businesses.
We had our first AGM last Feburary, a workshop event 'Re-imagining Crosby Village', responded to the Councils rather dull but important Core Strategy and just this month organised the Christmas Tree and some celebrity support.
Most recently we have re-aquainted ourselves with Sainsbury's team from last year and been introduced to their new member Laurie Chetwood Architect in a series (well three) "charettes"- a device used by architects to throw up ideas for projects and buildings. This of course should have happened last time around but didn't and so expectations this time are high that Sainsbury's really are listening and not just trying to "shoehorn"in their wishes for a very large shop into out town.
Size certainly matters in the world of supermarkets and the definite impression has been given that 50,000 square feet (80000 overall) is a must for a new Crosby store to be viable (the present store is viable at 20000 sq ft if viable = profitable)
So is there a genuine will to lead regeneration of a thriving bustling "High Street" in Crosby village( see Mary Portas review published todayhttp://www.bis.gov.uk/news/topstories/2011/Dec/portas-review) by Sainsbury's, or just a cosmetic exercise in wrapping up a huge store in acceptable packaging, leaving independent traders without affordable premises in which to continue trading and offering diverse, sustainable, individual and local shops.
Watch this space...carefully.