Tesco’s plans to open shop raise concerns

JPCT 080213 The site of the Silver Wok, Brighton Road, Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 080213 The site of the Silver Wok, Brighton Road, Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin

Tesco has ended 18 months of speculation by announcing it hopes to create 20 jobs by converting a former restaurant in Horsham into a convenience store.

The supermarket giant has written to potential neighbours in Brighton Road outlining its plans for the site, which was once the St Leonard’s Arms.

It was most recently the site of The Silver Wok, which has now moved to Queens Street.

In his letter, corporate affairs manager Simon Petar says that the company hopes to submit plans soon to Horsham District Council to make small amendments to the building, including adding a cash point, to open a Tesco Express store in Summer 2013.

But residents are concerned about the extra traffic that will result and the trade existing shops will lose. Mr Petar says that many of the customers will come from within 500 metres of the site or will cycle.

Mike Dancy of St Leonards Road said that area is mostly open space including Bennetts Field and school playing fields.

He said: “The roads that the area does encompass, about 25, to some extent, are mainly low/medium density housing of which the majority are almost nearer to the town centre. So where are the customers coming from that will create sufficient business to occupy all these new jobs? How will they get there?”

Mr Petar said that Tesco have ‘good neighbour policy’ and tried to ease residents’ concerns.

He told the County Times: “Those three deliveries are one main delivery at a convenient time not in peak hours. The other two are fresh and local produce and newspapers. The car parking will remain.”

He said nationally Tesco Express stores attract people to the local shops and customers are often already passing, so they do not expect the store’s presence to add substantial traffic to Brighton Road and St Leonards Road.