Storrington superstore plan to be withdrawn

JPCT-17-01-12 S12030684a Save our Storrington presenting their petition against Waitrose expanision to HDC planners. Horsham District Council offices, Park North, North Street, Horsham, RH12 1RL. Rod Brown, Head of Planning Environmental Services, receives petition from Peter Westrip -photo by steve cobb ENGSUS00120120117103612
JPCT-17-01-12 S12030684a Save our Storrington presenting their petition against Waitrose expanision to HDC planners. Horsham District Council offices, Park North, North Street, Horsham, RH12 1RL. Rod Brown, Head of Planning Environmental Services, receives petition from Peter Westrip -photo by steve cobb ENGSUS00120120117103612

Rising construction costs and changes to the food retail market are behind Waitrose’s decision to scrap plans for a new superstore in Storrington.

Last week’s County Times revealed that the project, approved by councillors in December 2012, would no longer go ahead.

This week, a Waitrose spokesperson said the current store in Old Mill Square would be extended and brought up to date, and reaffirmed the supermarket giant’s ‘commitment’ to Storrington.

The spokesperson said: “Since first bringing forward a proposal to completely redevelop the branch more than three years ago our aim has been to improve our store for both our partners and customers.

“However, during this time construction costs have risen significantly and the food retail market is undergoing well documented changes, which have impacted the viability of our plans.”

Village residents will be consulted about the store’s future plans, the spokesperson added.

He said: “Our ambition though remains the same; to bring the store up to date with a wider choice of products and services and ensure we are able to meet customer demand.

“Rather than putting plans to achieve this on hold altogether, we are currently exploring an opportunity to add an extension on to the existing unit.

“This would enable us to increase the size of the store and bring our range of products and services in line with what we offer elsewhere as well as delivering it quicker with less disruption to the village.”

He added: “We recognise the planned changes will cause some disappointment and frustration, but an extension will still represent a major investment in Storrington which underlines our commitment to the village and enable us to play a bigger part in attracting shoppers here.”

A new proposal for the extension of the store could be released later this year.