Supermarket plans to fill a gap by opening a dental surgery

Sainsburys Sainsburys

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
4:00 PM

Sainsbury’s bosses hope to open a dentist practice inside the Ely store making it the seventh supermarket in the country to offer such a service.

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The Lisle Lane store has asked for planning permission to open a dental surgery to grow its current healthcare section from opticians and pharmacy.

The idea was refused in October 2011 before the shop had even opened but now the supermarket hope to get the plan cleared under a minor material amendment.

In an application to East Cambs District Council planning specialist Helen McManus of Indigo, said: “It will have one dental chair employing a dentist and dental nurse.

“It will not be of such a scale that it will cause harm to the vitality and viability of the town centre.”

When East Cambs Council refused the application they were concerned about “possible trade diversion” and thought the dentist practice was not “ancillary to the approved retail use.”

However, Ms McManus said: “As a dental surgery is not identified as a main town centre use there is no requirement to locate it in the town centre or address the issue of trade diversion.

“It will have an ancillary but complimentary function to the main retail use, providing an additional service for Sainsbury’s customers before or after they do their shopping.

The proposed change of use relates to less than two per cent of the store’s floorspace.

“There are many examples of smaller facilities often coffee shops, dry cleaners and dental surgeries,” she said.

“Sainsbury’s have been providing dental surgeries in some of their stores since 2008 and have proved to be very popular.”

The planning application does not involve changing the front of the store and would be accessed from within the store.

It is yet to be discussed by East Cambs councillors and planning officers.

Sainsbury’s has three dentist practices open seven days a week in Manchester, one in Bolton and one in the London suburb of Merton.

Tesco has a dentist practice in its Slough store.

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