Multi-storey parking plan for shoppers; Sainsbury's proposes extra spaces.
A MULTI-STOREY car park could be built in the heart of a Merseyside town under a supermarket giant's plans.
Sainsbury's wants to construct a new store to replace its existing premises in Crosby, and believes extra parking will be needed for an increased number of customers if it is given the go-ahead.
One option currently being considered as part of the proposals is to build a multistorey structure on the partowned council car park, next to Crosby's bus terminal, in Islington Green.
At a public meeting this week, Andy Wallis, Sefton council's director of planning and economic regeneration, said: "Parking will be an initial part of the scheme.
"They [Sainsbury's] are considering a multi-storey car park on the site of the existing Sainsbury's.
"They are also considering investing in the council's own car park in Islington Green, possibly a multi-storey car park. I am very interested in what they propose."
Plans to put a petrol station on the Moor Lane site have been shelved after they were opposed by residents, but could be considered for a different location on the site.
The council wants a new Sainsbury's in the centre of Crosby, rather than the outskirts, where it could draw business away from other shops.
The existing store is the second highest trading food shop in Sefton, behind Tesco in Southport, and its owners believe it has the potential to dramatically increase its number of customers.
But that would lead to more delivery vehicles and the need for more parking spaces.
Mr Wallis added: "If I deny growth in the centre, the developer will look for options outside the town centre.
"As long as it fits and we get the right scheme and design, the right place is in the centre of the village, rather than on the edge of it."
At the meeting, residents said they were concerned about extra traffic a new supermarket would create, and said roads around Crosby could not handle more vehicles.
Traders were also concerned they would lose customers.
But Mr Wallis said the council would restrict the type of goods allowed at the supermarket, adding: "It is not in the interests of Sainsbury's to compete shops out of businesses, because it is about the quality of the place."
Councillors also feel the plan is the best chance to improve the centre of Crosby.
Cllr Paul Cummins said: "This is possibly the best chance to get the village to look better. I'm not sure what the other option is. There do not seem to be other investors."