Waitrose’s plans to change the road layout near its Storrington store are set to be discussed by councillors next week.
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 supermarket has appealed to the planning inspectorate on the grounds of non-determination of its proposals by Horsham District Council.
But before a decision on this is made the application is due to be discussed by HDC’s Planning Committee South next Tuesday (April 17).
Councillors will be asked if they would have been minded to support the application if it had been in front of them before the appeal was lodged.
Storrington and Sullington Parish Council has opposed the plans, while 42 objections from 21 addresses have been received.
Stagecoach South was the only bus operator to respond, raising concerns about visibility for buses leaving the two stops proposed and the potential pedestrian crossing implications.
According to council planning officers: “The proposed alterations to the turning circle are considered to be of a scale and layout that would be sympathetic to the character and visual amenities of the street scene, whilst of a nature that would not materially harm the amenities of neighbouring properties and users of land, or the safety and function of the public highway network. Furthermore, the proposed works would not prevent the wider re-development of the Diamond area coming forward in line with the aspirations of the planning brief.”
The officers’ report says: “The application seeks full planning permission to reconfigure the existing bus turning circle to Old Mill Drive, and seeks to undertake the following works:
• Rationalisation of the turning facility in to the south-western corner of the footprint of the existing facility;
• Retention of two southbound bus stops to the north of the new turning facility, segregated by a new ‘pedestrian island’;
• Minor realignment of the western kerb line of Old Mill Drive adjacent to the new bus stops;
• Replacement pedestrian footpath to the east of the turning facility and bus stops;
• Reinstatement of verge and full height kerbs at a number of uncontrolled crossing points;
• Provision of new uncontrolled crossing points, with dropped kerbs and tactile paving in appropriate locations.”