Plea for store’s traffic study to be ignored

Healthcare issues should take priority over extension plans for Storrington’s existing Waitrose store, a local man has warned.

Mr Clive Kitchener, a retired director of strategy for a major PLC, who lives in Warren Chase, has called for Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council to disregard the traffic study submitted by Waitrose.

His warning has come at a time when Horsham District Council has said the revised application is expected to go before the planning committee for consideration before the end of the year.

He says the district and county councils should fund a proper independent and unbiased study because of ensuing traffic pollution coupled with 57 weeks of building work, and associated dust and dirt generated by the building and lorry movements.

“This health related issue is simply not addressed by Waitrose. Storrington and Sullington Parish Council has been caught hook, line and sinker by a Waitrose transport study that lacks any credibility and suggests that the level of traffic will actually be reduced,” said Mr Kitchener.

He pointed out that the company plans to treble the retail store size, double the car park spaces, increase deliveries from articulated lorries, use the store as a John Lewies regional internet hub and massively increase staff with associated car journeys.

“They may be able to fool councillors but not the people who have to live with consequences of an increased health risk,” he added.

Mr Kitchener’s wife Cathy has a significant lung problem and any infection or irritant can lead to life-threatening complications. He himself has had prostate cancer treatment which not only failed, but left him with significant radiation damage.

He has warned that everyone who qualified for recent influenza vaccinations at Storrington’s two medical centres - 4,454 in total - are all at risk from pollution effects.

“I will be asking the public health department to ensure that respiratory diseases are monitored by all GPs for both Storrington and Pulborough, This data can then be used to undertake class actions against those who worsen or contribute to the increased car and building pollution, and anyone in the planning system who may have been negligent in relying on commercial surveys without necessary checks and balances and failed to undertake independent studies where necessary,” he said.

Mr Kitchener said that too much time and support had been given to Waitrose.

He and his wife undertook a study a year ago visiting 532 homes in Storrington to ask people their opinion on the proposals.

“A total of 74 per cent were against this development, which defies the claim by Waitrose that the majority of people support their application,” he said

Mr Kitchener warned that all aspects of the revised plan should be looked at.

“Apart from tripled retail space, there will be a large warehouse, significant office facility, e-commerce facility, unloading bay and two-storey car park.

“We have no idea where bus stops will be, as the current turning circle will disappear.

“The designer has little understanding of the 18,500 cars daily which travel down Manleys Hill to the mini roundabout, which will be far closer to the new Waitrose entrance in School Hill. Result-chaos!”