Anger at Waitrose’s amended road layout plans

Storrington Waitrose
Storrington Waitrose

Angry residents have called for road layout changes outside the Waitrose store to be ‘put before the people of Storrington’.

The supermarket giant is looking to make alterations to the bus turning circle in Old Mill Drive.

According to its agents this is the ‘first phase’ for the site’s wider development potential, following Waitrose’s decision to drop expansion plans for a larger store on the same site.

However residents have opposed the changes to the turning circle, arguing that forcing buses to make tighter u-turns in a heavily pedestrianised area would be a ‘major safety issue’.

The application has already been changed once, and was revised for a second time with these amendments published last week.

Since then objectors have taken to Facebook to vent their frustration, with one resident saying they were ‘absolutely disgusted’ by the approach taken.

Others suggested that the changes to the original designs had not addressed any of the safety concerns.

One user wrote: “This sort of change should be put before the people of Storrington.”

Another said: “So disappointing that once again Waitrose are not thinking of the safety of bus users, particularly the school children.”

Storrington and Sullington Parish Council has already signalled its strong objections to the proposals, arguing that the trees are not protected, the position of the new bus stop is dangerous, and the fact that the existing turning circle is used by school buses, taxis, village minibuses and even cars.

According to the application submitted by Cushman and Wakefield on behalf of Waitrose, the application seeks to retain the turning facility in ‘broadly the same location that it is now’, but with a reduced overall footprint, ‘safeguarding’ the open land and trees to the west of Old Mill Drive.

The company argues that an on-carriageway northbound bus stop will reduce the number of buses needing to enter the turning facility.

Back in May a spokesman for Waitrose a said that safety was ‘a top priority’ for the company and that thorough road safety audits had been carried out.

“The current proposals we’ve submitted were revised before submission following feedback from the independent road safety audit which was undertaken.”

Several residents have also called for changes to the bus turning circle to wait until a comprehensive plan for the whole site has been submitted.

But in its application, Waitrose said: “It should be noted that until such time as the land occupied by the turning facility and adjacent garage has been sold, there is no indication as to what form of development may be sought upon it.”