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Good Companions protestors ready for fresh Lidl battle

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Campaigners in Sanderstead are preparing for battle again as the supermarket giant Lidl submits a new plan for an old pub site that will have a "devastating" impact on the area, they claim.

The chain bought the Good Companions in July last year and drew up a hugely unpopular planning application that involved demolishing the derelict pub in Limpsfield Road and replacing it with the store as well as a 68-vehicle car park.

In August 2012, more than 200 people gathered to oppose the application by the German supermarket because they feared it would cause traffic chaos, threaten independent businesses, lower property prices and affect the local post office, as well as being an eyesore.

After mounting pressure and an indication from Croydon Council that the plans would be rejected, Lidl withdrew its application in January.

However, less than two months later, another proposal has been submitted to the council.

Paul Redington, who is a leading member of the community action group opposing the development, said: "They have looked at the design but completely ignored the access issues and the fact a major supermarket here will completely devastate the area.

"There will be traffic, congestion and parking problems. More than 2,000 children use the two schools next to Hamsey Green – and the road is already dangerous with regular accidents.

"Five shops on Hamsey Green parade have closed down since Lidl bought the site. They are already vulnerable and will only be hit further if the supermarket is successful.

"The Post Office, which is a vital resource for the elderly in Sanderstead, will also be threatened – it will not survive with Lidl there."

Mr Redington added: "The supermarket says it will bring more footfall to the area but the people who come to Lidl do all their shopping there and leave straight after.

"This is also a gateway to Croydon and an arterial route. Lidl did a traffic survey in the summer but the schools were shut and they did not hold it at rush hour so it is nonsense. We will do all we can to make sure this application is also unsuccessful."

Dennis Eldridge, chairman of the Sanderstead Residents' Association, said there were some improvements with the building's appearance but that the south side was a "completely blank and characterless wall facing people entering Croydon for the first time. I believe they should go back to the drawing board".

Councillor Yvette Hopley, who supported the campaigners last year, said she had delivered a leaflet to residents and shops with information about the new application while soon-to-be chairman of SRA, Dennis King, was more positive about the new plans, saying: "It won't win a design award, but it does tick the right boxes."

Mr King also said it was questionable how much trade Lidl could take from the area because "their range of goods is not that of a major supermarket".

Good Companions protestors ready for fresh Lidl battle


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