It is unfortunate to note that Horsham District Council and Waitrose have contrived to re-submit a ‘revised’ planning application, Ref DC/11/2334, for a superstore in our village of Storrington, with little or no regard to the residents of Storrington, or Storrington and Sullington Parish Council.
The council has taken advantage of the factor that does not require it to publicise in the press, when it is a revision to a previous application (the fact that this application should have been determined by April 9 seems to have bypassed all the relevant agencies).
The council has allowed the minimum 14 days for neighbour consultation, with an expiry date of September 28.
The actual revised plans were only available for public review on Thursday September 20 in Storrington Library.
The parish council also only received the documents on September 18, and these were available for public review on the afternoon of the 18th.
It would appear that the council is attempting to rush this application through the planning process, disregarding public or local government consideration or intervention.
From an initial review, very few of the suggested changes have been incorporated, and therefore many of the public, parish council, or HDC department objections have been totally ignored.
Given due time, a fully detailed investigation of the ‘new’ plans may be possible, which will raise many new concerns.
It is also very evident that HDC and Waitrose wish the plans to be passed before the results of the extensive traffic and pollution surveys, pertaining to the Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) on Storrington village, are released.
The results have been long awaited, but apparently these, and an Action Plan, are under analysis and discussion by ‘relevant authorities’?
Waitrose claims it has used traffic and pollution modelling experts, and that these must be believed!
Why then has West Sussex County Council spent so much time and public finance in commissioning a detailed and factual survey of the traffic using Storrington roads?
Many residents consider that it is essential to have the AQMA plan in place and operational before any further developments should be reviewed.
In February 2012 Storrington and Sullington PC made a strong objection to the proposed Abingworth housing development in Thakeham, on the grounds of traffic and the impact of this to Storrington; and the fact that as Storrington is under an AQMA then there is a need to ‘remove traffic from the village not add to it’.
It must also be noted that HDC, Public Health and Licensing dept memorandum dated February 20, 2012, on the original Waitrose application, included many points of concern/objections, In this memo there is a particular reference:
‘Dispersion modelling of air quality data for Storrington indicates that, in order to comply with the air quality objective, the emission of oxides of nitrogen at the worst receptor location needs to be reduced by approximately 30 per cent. This is a very challenging task and will be difficult to achieve. In view of this, all new development in Storrington and surrounding areas needs to be carefully assessed in terms of traffic generation and air quality impact. This must include the cumulative impact of all planned developments, including those whose individual impact may have been calculated as ‘negligible’.’
In conclusion HDC and other authorities must be obliged to delay any decisions until all the facts are in the public domain, and have been investigated in detail. In other words the planning review timetable, for a proposed major development in the centre of a village community, must be extended.