LETTER: Pub conversion must be stopped

It’s time to stop messing around. As a resident living right opposite the site of the proposed Tesco Express on St Leonards Road, Horsham, I really have to ask what exactly is going on? I mean really going on?

Because there are no grey areas with this, it is a black and white no-brainer; this little stretch of road will not accommodate an extra 700 cars per day (based on Tesco’s own estimates given at a recent meeting).

And if a child can look at this little road and comment that there simply isn’t room, why is it taking a group of adults (apparently including people who work for health and safety within West Sussex Highways department) so ludicrously long to say ‘no’.

Anyone who ever uses the top of St Leonards Road at busy times, and queues to get on to the Brighton Road at the T junction, will know that this is an already heavily congested area.

And as a resident who has been out to the scene of a crash I can vouch that it is also a very dangerous area. There have previously been fatalities.

Local children and elderly people will have to cross an extremely dangerous section of road to get to this site and therefore to let it go ahead is not just stupid, it is hugely irresponsible.

Horsham District Council has the opportunity to issue an Article 4 Direction under the Town and Country Planning Act. This would stop Tesco from being able to exploit a small loophole in the law which it has been doing across the country in disused pubs. So why isn’t the council using this Article to oppose Tesco?

It’s not just Horsham District Council, it is West Sussex County Council also. Just in case the Highways Department needed the obvious pointing out and to see the mayhem that is St Leonards Road for themselves, I offered the highways manager, the use of my home so that he could observe the traffic for a while from the comfort of my front room. I was confident that if someone took the trouble to observe, it would be a fait accompli. He never replied.

Which brings me back to my first question - what is really going on behind the scenes? What aren’t we being told?

We know full well that Tesco is playing games with the timing of its planning applications. Why apply to install a canopy but conveniently leave out the application to widen the St Leonards Road entrance to accommodate its customers (which we know is what it intends) Clearly it is leaving it right to the last minute hoping it will be rushed through.

So why are the authorities pandering to Tesco? Why fly in the face of common sense (and public safety) to keep Tesco happy?

The local authorities have a responsibility to the public, not the supermarket chain.

It didn’t get itsway at Broadbridge Heath but that doesn’t mean it should get its way now at the expense of the safety of the community.

For goodness sake someone do the right thing and tell it where to go.

RACHEL BAYLISS

St Leonards Road, Horsham