Councillor claims Waitrose plan is ‘bureaucratic nonsense’

JPCT-16-08-11 SC11330318a Storrington, waitrose -photo by steve cobb
JPCT-16-08-11 SC11330318a Storrington, waitrose -photo by steve cobb

A Pulborough parish councillor claims that Waitrose’s supermarket scheme for a neighbouring village is ‘bureaucratic nonsense’ because it had not consulted his council.

Parish council chairman Ray Quested said that Pulborough was not considered by Waitrose in Storrington or Horsham District Council (HDC) in the supermarket’s development application that was passed last year.

“What we have is another example of bureaucratic nonsense wrapped up in some unintelligible clauses of legislation pored over by HDC to which Pulborough Parish Council, of course, have had no input,” Mr Quested said.

This follows the 2004 Tesco development in Pulborough, which provided a Retail and Environmental Contribution (under section 106) of £150,000 to be paid by Tesco to the community to offset the possible impact on businesses in the area.

“£50,000 of this money was designated for Storrington,” he said. “They improved their paving and street furniture.

“How much contribution will Pulborough receive therefore as a result of Waitrose? Answer - nothing.”

Waitrose’s expansion at Old Mill Square will cover 1,811 square metres, which is more than 400 square metres larger than Tesco in Pulborough.

A spokesperson at Waitrose said: “Waitrose is committed to investing in an existing business in the centre of a well established retail location. The planning policies of Horsham District Council have been applied to our application in the same way as previous proposals elsewhere in the District.”

However, Mr Quested believes Pulborough has been treated unfairly.

“What it effectively means is that whilst Storrington rattled their begging bowl in 2004 and received £50,000, Pulborough, which has a far better case to make for trade impact, a fact that is borne out in the Development Control Reports for both Tesco and Waitrose, receives nothing.

“The goalposts have been very conveniently moved.”

This comes after Waitrose announced it will delay its expansion until 2015 with an aim to open the supermarket in 2016. Plans to expand Waitrose were green-lighted by HDC on December 18 2012. The part-demolition of the existing supermarket will create an in-store coffee shop and a two-level car park.

HDC was approached but was unable to comment before the County Times deadline.

Also see letter, Page 39