New Asda Rayleigh




Press release from Asda:


What: The new Asda in Rayleigh opens to the public with Chairman of Rochford District Council, Cllr Keith Gibbs, Chairman of Rayleigh Town Council Cllr Patricia Weaver, plus local VIP?s Sylvia Jackson, Majorie Marks and competition winner 10 year old Katie Allen.

Where: Asda Rayleigh, Rawreth Lane, Rayleigh, Essex, FS6 9NF

When: Monday 29th October, 10:00am
Press briefing 09:50am
First Photo opportunity 09:55am
Asda?s new store will open with an explosion of entertainment for all the family complete with balloon modeller, face painter, confetti cannons and local talent. Brass band quintet, Full Sathom 5 will provide the soundtrack to your shopping and Magic will be courtesy of 11 year old competition winner James Holdsworth.

Matt Featherstone and his team of more than 155 colleagues and special VIPs, prepare to welcome customers to the store on its official opening day, Monday 29th October 2007.

Local ASDA colleagues Sylvia Jackson and Majorie Marks will be on hand to help Chairman of the Rochford Council, Cllr Ron Gibbs and store manager Matt Featherstone, to officially open the store to the public.

So the new Asda store opens today – although neither Chris nor Ron will be there, due to other commitments. However Asda said they’d be happy for us to put their press release on onlinefocus.

Please tell us over the new few hours, days and months what you think of it, especially in terms of shopping experience, traffic, and any nuisance it causes. Good things and bad things .

When people Google for “Asda Rayleigh” at the moment, the top two items are from Onlinefocus. Your comments are likely to get noticed…. We want this thread to be the main reference point on the web for this store.

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  • How can they be opening today when a condition of the appeal was that they had to carry out the agreed works to the traffic signal works at the Rawreth Lane junction before the retail foodstore opens for trade. Why is there still single line traffic. What penalties are they paying?

  • I am currently at work in Paddington, however I am keen to know whether or not the roadworks have been finished in time because they were not early this morning.
    John C.

  • John, they have just opened one extra lane but the left hand turn into Priory Chase is not open and ECC have not signed off the work. Its very packed over there in the car park men in green coats are trying to get cars parked but there are not enough spaces. Does not seem to be many people walking to the store.

  • Jane, I understand that County Highways have NOT ‘signed off’ the junction as completed and safe. Unless it can be sorted out very quickly , there is the possibility of enforcement action.

    There’s also the question of the staff travel plan.

  • “Incorrect Planning” . Oh Steve, there’s be so many ‘incorrect’ aspects , I wouldn’t know where to stop.

    But the key things were:

    Councillors of all parties agreeing to the whole land deal in the first place. (none of the current 5 Lib Dems supported this)

    A senior councillor agreeing privately that it was overdevelopment but not willing to go public.

    RDC not involving itself in the marketing of the site when was supposed to.

    No mention of a supermarket when the outline planning permission was given. No mention of retail policies at all then.

    The road planning application being passed before knowing what would be built on it and despite strong arguments being raised by Ron and the 2 Lib Dem Chrises against it.

    The planning condition about ‘traffic numbers not being detrimental…’ being forgotten until we reminded everyone about it.

    County Highways consultants, who supported the application, refusing to come to the planning committee to defend their flawed report.

    Anyway – Asda are paying for the reworking .

  • Chris / Ron,

    Txs for the response – the whole thing is an utter disgrace, at the next local election people need to remember / know who the councillors were who supported this.

    I can think of a good use for one of ASDA’s confetti cannons….

  • I would agree that the road outside is a mess, 25% of the car park, looks like a building site, or is this corner for the doctors etc, because there is not much room for anything else, it took me 15 mins to exit around lunch time today, I had to turn left go around the roundabout, then turn right on to Rawreth Lane, those temporary lights have really got under my skin for the past 6 weeks.

    All that aside I was suprised how large the store was, it was twice my expectation, we will use the store because my wife does not drive, her only alternative is the pathetic offering called Sommerfield, where you can buy a saucepan (Robert Dyas), but not find anything to cook in it, I have heard 3 people complaining to the store manager about this.The 35 service may need to improve only a bus every 90 mins in each direction, up to 6pm.Old people can not get to Sainsburys on a bus, they used to have Tesco in town as well, now only have 1 half of a supermarket. Like all things there are 2 sides to this, time will tell, but people will vote with their feet, there were plenty in ASDAs today.

  • I visited Asda yesterday and was pleasantly suprised by how large the store was. Although while walking around I happened to overhear someone complaining that they thought it would be bigger.

    Yes it would have been nice for the roadworks to have been finished, but it doesn’t look like they will be there much longer and I also think there was an exceptional amount of people visiting on opening day.

    I am one of the people that will be walking to the store rather than driving, but I agree that a bus service is desperately needed for Rawreth Lane, even if it’s just a link service to Rayleigh station.

  • It is said “County Highways have NOT ’signed off’ the junction as completed and safe” who will be liable if there is an accident at this junction. This morning lorries have been turning into Priory Chase from Rawreth Lane on the wrong side of the road. Walking to the store and getting across Rawreth Lane doesn’t feel safe. As has been said before, how can the store have been allowed to open without all the conditions having been met. Shouldn’t enforcement action be taken now.

  • ASDA signed a Unilateral Agreement with RDC in 2006 to complete the works before opening the store. RDC must now take legal action but the Planning Department is too busy and will not be visiting the site till the end of the week. ASDA should be made to pay a penalty to a local charity or close the store until the works are completed to ECC satisfaction and “signed off”.

  • Nothing has been adhered to! so why should we expect things to change now?!!!!!!!!

    Asda will pay the fine end of story!

    I have a new bus stop outside my house, funny that, NO 35 Bus!!!!!!!

    I have a 5m sign lucky me! Which can only be seen me and my neighbours until you drive past it as there is a tree infront of it. But don’t tell Asda they will remove the tree!!!!!

    Judging by the number of cars in the car park, people are NOT walking to the store!

    I saw one poor lady struggling with her double buggy today trying to negotiate the very tight passage between the railings it was like bumper cars. Safety at its best!

  • The fact that there is cabling running out of the ground along the road and back into the ground, tells me that the roadworks are a little way away from finishing.

    Personally, I do not think ASDA should be forced to close, nor do I feel that they should be expected to pay a penalty – 50% of the roadworks are being performed on Rawreth Lane, my understanding was that this road was adopted by the council a fair few decades ago – therefore Essex Highways must be partially accountable for their inability to project manage or frequently inspect the roadworks. RDC should have also carried out frequent inspections considering the negative press these roadworks have had and may have had some impact in pushing the crew forward to complete the works in time for the store opening.

    I am surprised that people seem surprised that the roadworks had not been finished – I have never heard off any form of works of this nature or scale being completed on time.

    One thing that people seem to be forgetting (simply because I have yet to see it posted on this site) is the number of jobs that the store has created for the town. The additional revenue it will generate and that it is proving to be an eco-friendly store. I have yet to see the staff carpark full, and I have a view straight into it. So am assuming people are walking, cycling, car pooling or using public transport to get to work. Demonstrating that ASDA deserve the award for greenest supermarket received last week.

    I have used the store twice now – and both times the store has been busy – proving that it is a much needed resource in this part of town. Perhaps there is a novelty factor and only time will tell if this is so, but myself and my partner, shall be cutting our carbon footprint – driving to Tesco in either Basildon or Southend is now a thing of the past – we’ll be walking to ASDA to do our weekly shop.

  • I may have missed something, but there are two lanes in Rawreth Lane now outside ASDA, so why are the lights 3 ways, I was stood at the front of a queue with no traffic in front of me tonight.

    Any reason why the ECC are making motorists suffer ?

  • I’m all for promoting Asda being green and everything but I’m not confident that staff aren’t driving to work. It is a big store and I’d be interested how many are working on a typical day.
    There’s no way of any of us knowing , but I suspect staff are using the customer parking. Apparently a certain amount of staff have been employed from the South Woodham Ferries store, meaning they would not necessary live local. Publlic transport? There is no public transport. Cycling? Haven’t noticed a great deal chained up.
    And regardless of Essex Highways or RDC being at fault for the junction Asda are indirectly responible aren’t they?
    I will use Asda but doesn’t mean to say that I agree with its position so close to the housing estate. And on another sour note. Yesterday was the first night of Asda being open and there were a group of teenagers loitering in the car park by the central shelter at 11pm when I got home from work. Oh joy!

    ps apologies for the negativity……

  • I hope that now ASDA is open for business all the moaning can finally stop. Yes the traffic lights aren’t finished but the Council are working very slowly. If only the road workers etc could meet a deadline like ASDA met theirs to open by the end of October. I don’t see anyone complaining about the lights in relation to the Leisure Centre/new houses – it’s the same lights!!

    I’ve lived in Rayleigh for nearly 3 years and this new store is brilliant, especially after Sainsburys ruined their Weir store with bright lights, dazzle and more space but no food. Did you know that for all the more selling space the storage area out back is just the same size as when it was a small store! What’s the point of closing at 11pm if you have no bloody food on the shelves?! Even the two local Tesco’s thought it would be brilliant to go bigger but not better.

    I can now walk from my front door in Grosvenor Road via the public track in Victoria Avenue to ASDA is just twenty minutes and I have done. Or even quicker by cycle. Thank God I don’t have to get my car out eveytime I need to go buy something that isn’t stocked by my local store at a 100% mark up. Or 200% mark up if you us the Jet Petrol Filling Station.

    Just be thankfull that we don’t have a tacky gaudy Tesco with their cheap fruit and veg that doesn’t last a few days or produce that’s always nearly out-of-date before you even get it home.

    Long live the small neighbourhood ASDA!

    I noticed that ASDA have provided their staff with a car park and smoking area which is adj to the Leisure Centre entrance. But there’s only a handfull of spaces. I guess it’s a management only car park.

    On another note. Does anyone know what the free land is for that is either side of the new rough walk path directly outside the new school / round-about? Also are there any plans to yellow line around the round-about to stop parents double parking and blocking it from use twice a day?

  • Simon, I am so pleased to find someone else that is singing the praises of ASDA. I have travelled a long road from being totally against the store, to being all in favour of it – the only thing that concerns me now with having a store so close, is my waistline!!

    David, you have said that ASDA is indirectly responsible for the road situation, well surely then, that means that someone is DIRECTLY responsible – this being Essex Highways and RDC.

    Speaking with a member of the ASDA menagement team this morning, I was advised that ASDA do welcome both negative and positive feedback from its neighbours, so rather have people whining on the site, and doing nothing about it, how about actually speaking to these people and perhaps your concerns and thoughts can be addressed to the mutal satisfaction of both parties. You will not got results by just putting your woes on this website!

  • Corey, I’ve no idea why you were converted from your antagonistic views to the path of sweetness and light with regards to ASDA. For your information I’ve been speaking and corresponding with Philip Bartram, Property Communications Manager as I understand it, who was quoted in the Echo on 17th Sept stating that ASDA want to “work closely with the local community as our store develops”.

    I have invited both him and Matt Featherstone to meet me at my property in Rawreth Lane to discuss specific issues, such as the road construction project, their apparent failure to comply with the conditions of the appeal but most of all to talk over how they and the residents could work together. The only response I’ve received to date is a comment in an email on 18th October that I would be sent a detailed reply after my weeks holiday which ended last Saturday (27th). I’ve reminded him again this week but still nothing.

    For your information we’ve also been in daily contact with Essex County Council, the Planning Inspectorate and Rochford District Council. They have confirmed ASDA has ignored conditions of the legal agreement but appear to be unwilling to take any action. ASDA appear to act without regard to any formal legal processes, another concern going forward. I can’t be sure as I’ve not heard ASDA’s views.

    We were further informed by another ADSA employee that Featherstone would not be in contact as the matter was being handled by Head Office.

    I’m not sure what else I’m supposed to do to make contact other than knock on his door and wait for somebody to grant me an audience. You presumably moved in with complete knowledge of the development. If you didn’t you should report your solicitor to the Law Society. I have lived here for 18 years, and several of my neighbours also predate the planning process for this monstrosity and, not surprisingly, do not support it.

    As you seem to be in constant contact with ASDA management please use your good offices to get somebody to meet me!

  • Mr Feather,

    I am not sure why you feel the responsibility of the roadworks falls on the lap of someone running a store – he did not put the planning application together, nor is he responsible for the failure of the completion of the roadworks – HE MANAGES A STORE nothing further.

    I don’t appreciate either you stating that mny views have been antagonistic, I have simply been a very concerned neighbour. As I am unsure as to your location, may I point out that my house is the closest to the service yard, my concerns have always been based on noise caused by this store – since ASDA took occupancy on Friday 19th October, we have only had cause to complain twice about noise caused by deliveries, as far as I am concerned they are better neighbours than the people who live to the side of me.

    I am sorry that you are not getting any response from the ASDA store, perhaps if you are speaking to him in a similar vein to how you wrote your thread, that may have something to do with it! I for one have always found that Mr Featherstone is approachable, has made time to meet with me and has returned phone calls within a few hours. But perhaps that has something to do with the way I approach situations that present themselves to me.

  • Guy’s

    Don’t get in a fight over this one – ASDA’s here to stay so we might as well get on with it, ( I recommend the fresh custard tarts – yum ) BUT – what’s to become of the gravel parking area to the right as you look from Rawreth.

    Given that ASDA ran rings around the council the last time I suggest keeping a close eye…..anybody for a nightclub / pub / all night burger bar….

  • For what it’s worth, I’m hoping to meet up with some people from Asda on about Nov 12th , to discuss … whatever needs discussing by then.

    By the way, the site , which seems sto have been fairly open-minded towards Asda, is a bit less sympathetic at the moment:

    “Wouldn’t it have been great if the roadworks around the entrance junction on Rawreth Lane were completed before the store opened and the site huts and other various contractors vehicles were not littering the car park.

    Just takes the edge off the opening, pity ASDA could not get their act together and let their grabbing desire for income override the locals desire for an end to the continual din of roadworks and traffic over the last nine months.

    Well will have a look around and give you a report during the next week”

  • Chris, Do we actually know the status of the ASDA 24 hour drinks licence. Has this been cancelled or do ASDA still have the power to decide, at any time, that they want to sell drink around the clock?

    And is there any definite accountability for the debacle that was the roadworks or is everybody just washing there hands of the responsibility.

    Are there people in the Coppice Gate Estate that are still not happy with having ASDA and the traffic and the lighting and the roadworks or is everybody now in love with ASDA, maybe I have missed something here but it does puzzle me……..

  • I dont know about Coppice Gate but those of us in Rawreth Lane who were here long before Coppice Gate are still not happy that a number of the legal clauses placed on ASDA before opening have not been met. We are still pushing RDC to take action.

  • Mike, Asda changed their licensing application from a 24 hour one to one that matches their current opening hours. This was after some representations from the police and at least one local resident.

    Accountability … ultimately rests with county highways.

    As for people’s views .. different people have different opinions….. not everyone is in love with Asda, others are pleased that its there…

  • Far from happy re ASDA. They should never have been allowed to open without the road junction etc being signed off. Crossing areas again being taken up today. Travel plan hasn’t yet been submitted to RDC – again this should have been done prior to their opening. It’ll be interesting to see what they put re their staff travel. There is a lot of staff parking in the front car park & the ‘overflow car park’! We’ve had to phone ASDA every day re their illuminated ASDA sign on the front of the store.

  • If you ask me, I think you are all a sad bunch, [edited] . No one cares how long u have lived on Rawreth Lane, it’s obvious that change will happen, it is inevitable [edited]
    The store is there to stay, get used to it for god sake and stop wasting your time and every one elses!

    How many people actually vote for the Lib Dems anyway? Bunch of losers.

    So what if the staff use their cars to get to work, you can not hold the company accountable for that, in fact the people you should be ‘attacking’ are the mums taking their children to school in the gas guzzling 4×4’s. How many people living in Rayleigh drive to the station to get the train to the city? The station car park is always rammed, I don’t see any one complaining about that.

    A message to you all who can not handle change, and come on here to vent their anger in this little forum because quite frankly, no one else cares in the slightest, get a life.

    A message to the Lib Dems……. If you put as much effort into your campaining as you did winding people up about ASDA, you may actually get somewhere.



  • Hi Jason, well, we do ‘ask you’- that’s partly why we have the website. Everybody is entitled to their opinion BUT your comments about a couple of residents has caused personal distress, and so we’ve edited what you wrote.

    As for the Lib Dems, well, we manage to outpoll all the other parties in Rayleigh last May. That’s not bad. What’s holding us back locally isn’t a lack of votes, it’s a lack of candidates.

    And Jason – most seriously – what do you think we should be campaigning on locally?

  • You should be campaigning about improved public transport services, schools not giving proper education to my children, getting some where for the youngsters to pass their time instead of hanging around the streets, policing, improved amenities the list is endless.

    I for one think having a retail food store is a real asset to the local area creating numerous jobs, have you even considered working with ASDA to help raise funds for the local area?

    This country is about freedom of speech, if people can’t accept what I write then they should stop creating issues for the sake of it.

    Residents of Rawreth Lane, if you don’t like it, move!



  • The LibDem councillors in Rayleigh are actively involved in seeking improvements for the community; you only have to attend council meetings or read the minutes to see the truth of this. Before you accuse me of sycophancy, I am not a LIbDem myself but I recognise the hard work they do for the community. Only last week I saw a LibDem councillor going house to house seeking residents’ views on a community issue.
    As for children hanging around the streets, this is a complex issue; it is parents who are ultimately responsible for their children but balanced with that the council can endeavour to provide leisure facilities. Wasn’t it Chris Black who raised the issue of a swimming pool at the Area Committeee meeeting ? Another of these facilities might be the neighbourhood building which was supposed to be built as a condition of the new Asda store. It has failed to materialise.
    A retail food store was needed in Rawreth but one of this magnitude? Some may put the blame at the feet of the Planning Inspectorate but if understand the situation correctly, it was the district council who agreed the outline plan of 2500 square feet and this was taken into consideration when Asda appealed, together with the lack of empirical evidence to support their other objections. From comments on this site, it would also appear that RDC do not seem to be enforcing the conditions which were prerequisites to the building of the new store. They were too busy to provide the evidence needed to back up their argument and now they are too busy to enforce the conditions of the development.
    Concerning your comment about schools not giving a proper education to your children, this government has worked tirelessly to incease standards in education and continues to do so by constantly reviewing its policies and by pouring massive investment into schools. Look back to 1996 and remember the appalling state of our state schools – it makes me shudder. Sure, improvements can still be made and they will be.
    This country may be about freedom of speech but with the executive board of RDC stuck in a quagmire mentality of “let’s blame the government for everything” and indulging itself in undemocratic processes, such as voting one of its own onto a committee rather than the democratically elected ward councillor, the uphill struggle is a steep gradient indeed.
    You say that if people can’t accept what you say, then they should stop creating issues for the sake of it. The second part of your argument doesn’t follow on from the premise of your first.
    You also say that residents should move if they don’t like it. You seem to value freedom of speech and this is part of the democratic process in this country. Residents can engage in the democratic process in all manner of ways, including voicing their opinions on this website and seeking the help of their councillors. Why should they have to move? Some residents were misled by the developer when they purchased their properties- should they just pack up and leave, even though their houses have now reduced in value?

    res ipsa loquitur

  • Jason,

    You obviously feel very strongly about a number of things. Why not put yourself up for election? If you do not identify with any party then you can always stand as an independent.

  • Jason,

    Looks like Chris has set you a bit of a challenge. It’s easy to come on here and attack people. How about demonstrating that you have a sympathy for the residents of Rayleigh other than yourself.

  • I found this on the BBC Website tonight. It’s about an Asda in North Wales. We’ve been discussing light pollution here in the last week, let’s hope we don’t have to discuss rats and alarms!

    Tuesday, 2 October 2007
    Asda meeting sought by residents

    Residents living close to a superstore at Pwllheli in Gwynedd claim their quality of life is being affected.

    They say they have been bothered by alarms sounding, light pollution, and claimed discarded food attracted rats.

    Residents now want to meet Asda store bosses to discuss the situation.

    An Asda spokesman apologised for any inconvenience but said the alarm system had been modified, one complaint about light had been received, and they were not responsible for rat numbers.

    Gareth Hughes, who lives near the site, said: “The alarms keep going off at night and when you ring Asda they don’t want to know and the police can’t help.”

    “There is also a smell from bins where they dump old food, and there are more rats.”

    Llinos Roberts, said she was unhappy the store had been allowed to open nearly 12 months ago in a residential area.

    “The site is completely surrounded by homes, there are no shops in this part of the town.

    “We have to put up with smell, noise, constant light. The alarm has gone off during the last three nights and it keeps waking up my son.”

  • I think Jason just likes to rattle a few cages. He is very rude for no good reason and by engaging him with responses is giving him too much credit. This will be my only response regarding him 😉
    Reading his comments it is very evident that he has unbalanced views. He quotes Freedom of Speech but then gets annoyed at others voicing there opinions.
    Well Jason, yes a food retail outlet in the area is a good thing I agree but having it allowed to be built against the backdrop of many houses, of which were their first is wrong.
    You seem to think people should just except this ‘change’ and get a life. Good one!!!!!!!!!!!

    I myself have never voted Lim Dem. But how you seem to think you can call them all losers sums up your intellectual capability!

  • It seems that ASDA are back to their old tricks – in so much they show no consideration for those that live here!

    For the past couple of nights we have heard a loud “whomp whomp” noise until late at night – Having heard it yet again tonight (and fortunately just before the store closed) decided to go over and have a moan.

    It seems that the service yard flooring is being relaid, as far as the store is concerned this can not be done during the day, so has to be done at night (when residents want to rest and sleep), and is due to be completed tomorrow night. What I found interesting was the lack of answer when I asked the question “Do you not think it would have been considerate of you to write to residents in the vacinity to advise them of this before hand?”

    If this level of inconsiderate behaviour continues once we become parents, RDC & for that matter ASDA, will be inundated with letters of complaint as our baby will not be able to sleep and I find that totally unacceptable!

  • Corey, are they actually allowed to make that kind of noise that late at night. It does not matter what time they close, what does matter is if the noise they make disturbs members of the public who unfortunately happen to live close enough to be disturbed by the level of noise. SOMETHING FOR THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT OF RDC TO TAKE UP, I would have thought? This should definately be followed up via your local Councillor!

  • ASDA are back to their old tricks – how I wish they could understand the concept of being a good neighbour. Certainly for us (and am in no doubt for other residents along this street) it was the return of a sleepless night as their generator was on. I thought we had some respite at about 2am when it quietened down, only to be cranked back up to full power a couple of minutes later.

    It is high time the council got off their backsides and actually did something other than just going to have a talk with them. There is a large catalogue of failings on ASDAs part and now action needs to be taken.

    BTW, are ASDA allowed to have lorries parked in their service yard all night?

  • PC Resident, don’t think so, the application letter on the lamposts says that they want to extend the opening hours and sell alcohol 6.00 – 23.00 Mon – Sun. Not sure how that works with the Sunday trading laws……..

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