IN REACTION to the parish council’s decision to support the proposed Waitrose expansion in Storrington, almost a whole page of your latest edition was devoted to the views of the antis.
With absolutely no positive vision for the future of the village, this made for the most uninspiring reading, which is hardly likely to inform debate on the subject.
However, a small space was actually given to one single supporter, who happens to be a lady from Washington.
She has established that there is no longer any overall benefit in travelling the extra miles to shop in only marginally cheaper but considerably lower quality supermarkets.
Indeed, as the cost of motoring rises heavily, and the popularity of our largest supermarket chain declines in equal measure, there are very many people living in ‘our’ Storrington who have also reached the same conclusion, and are greatly looking forward to a new larger store which will meet more of their needs without leaving the village.
During a recession, when out of town supermarkets have already taken business away from local shops, and online shopping is a new threat, the proposed Waitrose expansion offers a unique opportunity to revitalise the village.
The outdated and decrepit shopping area would be replaced by a brand new store, more in keeping with the surroundings as has now been requested.
It would attract a substantially increased footfall, which without doubt would be delivered to all other retail outlets in the village whose owners are prepared to embrace change, and to adapt where necessary to complement the anchor store.
This model is well proven elsewhere, but it would not operate on the basis of a small expansion of Waitrose, as advocated by the antis who clearly have no relevant experience.
The long-standing issue of pollution levels, caused almost entirely by through traffic comprising more long distance juggernauts every day, is now so acute that an early resolution will have to be found, irrespective of the Waitrose proposal.
So there is no logic in conflating this major issue with that of a minor increase in traffic for access to a new larger store and to all the other local shops.
Allegations that our duly elected parish councillors are working against the wishes of the community are wide of the mark.
Councillors have a duty to act in the best interests of their electorate, even in the face of occasional opposition from some of their own supporters. With good reason, they are unanimously in favour of the application, subject to necessary design improvements.
It would be tragic if the excellent new prospects for our village were in any way prejudiced by a fringe group needlessly feeding fear of change into the community.
Manleys Hill, Storrington