Furious campaigners brand Waitrose’s plans to extend store a ‘slap in the face’ to Sheffield

More residents have expressed their disapproval over the proposal to develop delivery facilities in Sheffield by a supermarket chain, Waitrose.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 1:53 pm

In its partnership with John Lewis, Waitrose have recently applied for a planning permission to erect a rooftop refrigeration plant and develop delivery facilities at its store on Ecclesall Road.

But their proposal has received backlash by a campaign group, Sheaf and Porter River Trust and nearby residents who argued that the move would only bring negative impacts to the environment.

This particular move was also seen as a 'huge slap in the face' for Sheffield, especially after the announcement by John Lewis to permanently close its department store, leaving 299 jobs at risk.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

More objections to Waitrose's proposal to develop an 'e-Commerce depot'.

The trust said the supermarket chain would create an ‘e-Commerce depot’ at its store using a small car park on Cemetery Road, which they own and is used by their own vehicles.

They also said they approached the company requesting that as part of the redevelopment of this site they undertake some restoration of the river and replace the fence with an attractive low safety railing to allow better public access and visibility - only to be declined.

Residents have since flooded Sheffield City Council's planning section expressing their disgruntlement over what they deemed would run contrary to Connecting Sheffield s proposal that aims to build a walk and a cycle way into the city centre in the area.

One resident wrote: “I object to this proposal because of how it further contributes to the hiding of Sheffield's rivers from daily street life.

"For the sake of a few square metres on an awkward plot, Waitrose will be destroying the chance to open up access to a rare unculverted stretch of the Porter Brook that could help to make high quality outdoor space in the city for people, and to connect people to nature in the city.

"This feels more pertinent that ever given the Connecting Sheffield plans for a major cycle route going past this site - the Connecting Sheffield documents show people sitting around in and walking through this area, and the success of this scheme here, and the chance to turn it into a pleasant bit of open space that is used by many, will be destroyed by Waitrose's plans.

"Mature trees should also not be felled for such measly, minor changes in use as space to park one or two vans that Waitrose could anyway make up elsewhere on their large site."

But Waitrose in a statement sent to The Star now said they would now welcome the opportunity to speak to the campaign group about how they might work together.

A spokesperson from Waitrose said: "While the open section of the River Porter is not within our ownership, we will look at improving other areas where possible, including adding railings and signage.

"The trees and planting on Cemetery Road will be retained and we are going to create more public space to offer a better view of the river."

A total of 69 objections have been received by the council so far with none supporting. Residents will have until today to either support or object the proposal.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.