Proposed Tesco has Horsham shop fearing for its survival

JPCT 030713 S13270212x Mace store, St Leonard's Road, Horsham. Vinojh Balan, cashier -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 030713 S13270212x Mace store, St Leonard's Road, Horsham. Vinojh Balan, cashier -photo by Steve Cobb

A Horsham shop owner is counting down the days until he is forced to close by the opening of a new Tesco store in Brighton Road.

Five applications for the old Silver Wok site were approved by Horsham District Council’s Development Control North Committee on Tuesday night.

Since Tesco does not need permission for a change of use, it had submitted applications for a canopy, air conditioning units, minor external alterations, changes to vehicular access, and signage.

After the meeting Ramish Rasavallavan, of St Leonard’s Stores, said he was disappointed at the council’s decisions and thought it was a sad day for democracy after more than a thousand signatures were collected opposing the opening of a new Tesco.

He said: “I would like to thank all the community who have supported me over the last decade, but I’m worried about whether I’m going to survive.”

He continued: “I’m very proud to be a servant of the community, but now I’m counting my days and I want to say my heartfelt thanks to the community for their support.”

Beth Greenhouse, regional corporate affairs manager for Tesco, said the store could be open by August or September.

The five applications were deferred by the committee last month due to lack of information from Tesco and time to look into pursuing an Article Four Direction, which can remove permitted development rights.

However, local member Godfrey Newman (LDem, Forest) said: “After all that the council can do nothing. Because Tesco can claim work not requiring planning permission was commenced in March it is too late to place an Article Four Directive.”

He pointed out that a new Tesco would mean the level of use at the site would be far greater than before, and said there was potential for real harm given traffic issues in Brighton Road.

Most of the concerns centre around cars and delivery vehicles coming in and out of Brighton Road, as access from St Leonard’s Road is set to be limited to just pedestrians.

Mike Dancy, who lives in St Leonard’s Road and has led the campaign against the new store, said: “It’s a catastrophe waiting to happen just like Redkiln Way, Roffey.

“But unlike Roffey, where there’s an escape route, there’s no way round this.

“The residents who live down the lane already have a difficult time getting to their properties. This will make it impossible at busy times.”

Miss Greenhouse added: “Most of our customers will be walking and cycling to the store.”

Asked about his next step Mr Dancy said he would be speaking to his campaign members to see if they wanted to proceed any further.