DEVELOPERS have been blasted for marching on with a supermarket development ahead of planning permission.
Residents and neighbouring small traders have looked on with anger as builders first flattened a former Bryn sofa store then started to build up again months ahead of councillors’ sitting down to determine their application.
The Glovers World of Furniture premises in Wigan Road is now the acknowledged new site of a Morrisons Local store set to open in the spring and create 20 jobs. But although the new building appears well on the way to completion, planning permission was only actually granted to developers Tyne Limited this week.
And Ashton independent councillor Don Hodgkinson believes this has now set a very poor example to other developers who may now be tempted to “try it on” ahead of committee deliberations. He fumed: “Shortly after we as ward councillors were notified that an application had been submitted to demolish Glovers - on September 27 - we noticed that work began almost immediately, regardless of the need for planning permission. It has now come before the council three months later which I think is outrageous. Work is continuing as we speak and I would say it is 60 per cent finished. This makes a complete mockery of having a planning committee and planning rules.”
He demanded the decision be deferred for a site visit to see the level of work already carried out and said that this pre-empting of the decision breached the terms of a 125-year on the council-owned land.
But Ashton Labour councillor Bill Clarke said there had been few objections and he believed it would be a useful addition to Bryn’s commercial scene. He said: “It will be welcome competition to the one existing supermarket there which has held sway for a number of years and been allowed to charge customers just what it wanted.”
Colleague Coun Yvonne Klieve (Golborne) said Bryn struggled for parking, but this scheme would bring welcome extra capacity. And with the railway station nearby, it was in an extremely sustainable position.
Owner of neighbouring Bargain Booze, Ray Clutton, said: “I was under the impression that no structural changes can take place before planning permission is given. I don’t feel properly consulted on this. As a member of the trading community, do I not have a right to be told?”
Dave Brogan, owner of Brogan’s Butchers, said: “I feel small businesses are not cared about. It is only a small express store, but it may affect me.”