Sainsburys opening today will rid Barton of 'negative image'
SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury's could help to 'rid Barton of its negative image' as it opens its store there today.
The shop on the corner of Barton Street and India Road is set to greet its first customers after Gloucester MP Richard Graham officially declares it open at 9am.
Community leaders have welcomed its arrival.
City councillor Usman Bhaimia (L, Barton and Tredworth) said: "It will help to rid Barton and Tredworth of its negative image, that it is a place for junkies and prostitutes.
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"It is a quality store and hopefully it will encourage more quality stores to follow."
He is confident that it will not affect other convenience stores along Barton Street despite concerns that have already been voiced by residents.
He said: "The convenience stores specialise in minority food that you will not find in Sainsbury's. They are very popular for this reason and having the Sainsbury's here may actually help bring more people to them."
The store, which will employ about 15 staff members, is open seven days a week from 7am until 11pm.
It has opened on the site of the former India House pub, which closed in February 2011. At the time of the plans for the store being announced there were strong concerns about it
City councillor Saj Patel (C, Barton and Tredworth) had said: "Local people have taken huge risks in starting up their own businesses in Barton."
Mohamed Chand, owner of Norat News on the corner of Hatfield Road, said: "It's difficult enough to trade as it is."
About 1,200 residents also signed a petition calling for the plan to be dismissed.
But nearby Barton resident Tessa Linton, who works as a cleaner, said: "It's going to be really handy for me to pick up breakfast on the way to work.
"I go to work quite early so the fact that it opens at 7am is fantastic.
"I can see it being really popular with the kids too because they can pick up stuff before they go to school.
"I don't think it will stop me going to the Polish shop for some goods because you can't really get them anywhere else anyway but Sainsbury's will be really handy for picking up bits and bobs such as milk and bread."
A Sainsbury's spokesman said: "We believe the convenience shop will be of great benefit to the area, by creating new jobs and improving shopping choice for local residents. We are a responsible retailer by seeking to be a good neighbour and playing an active role in the community, which includes promoting safer neighbourhoods."