Sainsbury's revealed earlier this year it was planning to open a store with petrol station on the site of the current Homebase outlet on the retail park, which it said could create up to 400 jobs.

 

But the scheme has attracted local opposition.

 

A petition of 34 signatures against the scheme has been received along with ten objections. Southport's MP John Pugh and Tony Dawson, the councillor representing the Dukes ward, have also objected.

 

Asda, Morrisons and Tesco have also all objected to the proposals. All three have stores in the town, with the Tesco outlet in close proximity.

 

Traffic concerns, adverse impacts on the town centre and a lack of need for another food store and petrol station are among the issues raised by the objectors.

 

A further 29 letters of support have been received praising Sainsbury's commitment to its existing town centre store and the revitalisation of Meols Cop Retail Park.

 

Part of the scheme would involve altering the vehicle access arrangements on Meols Cop Road.

 

Planning officers at Sefton Council said although a new supermarket could act as a "significant traffic generator", the project would not adversely impact the highways network.

 

They added the road changes would introduce an exit onto Meols Cop Road and as a result there would be "significantly less use" of Kew roundabout.

 

The officers said the proposals would have a series of economic benefits, including stimulating interest elsewhere on the retail park.

 

But they said they expected the "realistic net increase" in jobs would be nearer to 300 as existing staff already employed at the site would be offered the opportunity to work in the new shop.

 

As a result of the economic benefits, planning officers have recommended the scheme be referred to communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles for determination with a recommendation for approval.

 

The scheme must be referred to the secretary of state as it is a large retail development outside of a town centre.

 

The plans are to be discussed at a meeting next Wednesday (15 October 2014).

 

By Insider Media Limited