Waitrose expansion ‘indefensible proposal’ say Storrington campaigners

Members of Save our Storrington out surveying the site of possible Waitrose expansion.
Members of Save our Storrington out surveying the site of possible Waitrose expansion.

Polarising plans for Waitrose expansion will be debated at a public meeting hosted by

Storrington Parish Council this Tuesday October 23.

Meanwhile Save our Storrington, who maintain they do not oppose what they deem ‘sensible expansion’, spent last Saturday surveying the impact of the latest plans in the Old Mill Drive area of the village, where the new frontage is planned.

Revised plans for the existing store were submitted to Horsham District Council in September following feedback from a parish council meeting in January.

Chairman of SOS Peter Westrip said: “The people of Storrington are speaking and there is absolutely no doubt what the vast majority are saying. They want and expect their elected representatives to listen to them.”

Armed with the revised plans, measuring equipment and road tape, volunteers plotted the western borders of the proposed store and the new bus/HGV turning circle and road.

Mr Westrip added: “There is only so much you can learn from looking at Waitrose’s plans, drawings and photomontages. We wanted to make sure that we had fully grasped the size of this proposed development.

“When we had finished our assessment, we were all horrified by its sheer scale – and by the amount of green space and number of trees on the west of Old Mill Drive that would be destroyed.

“There is no doubt that this store would be totally out of place in our village. It is a completely over-the-top and indefensible proposal. It shouldn’t even have made it to the drawing board.”

Tom North, Waitrose branch manager, told the County Times in September: “We want to create an attractive store at the heart of Storrington which enables us to provide a store and car park that can meet demand and therefore play a positive role in maintaining a healthy village centre.

“The changes address the key concerns raised about the design of our proposals, particularly by ensuring the elevation along Old Mill Drive is far more in keeping with the existing environment.”

HDC said it expects the planning application to be debated in November at the earliest.

SOS supporters also went into the village on Saturday morning to distribute flyers and invite shoppers to sign the petition opposing the revised application. The total number of signatures now stands at more than a thousand.

Meanwhile, the parish council meeting, which will determine what recommendation is passed on to HDC planners, will start at 7pm at the Parish Hall in Thakeham Road, and is a full council meeting, so all councillors opinions are registered.

The public will be allowed entrance from 6:50 pm, but if the capacity of 150 is reached, the doors will be closed and no further persons will be admitted.

Five speakers each will be allowed three minutes to argue for and against plans.

Those wishing to speak must register with the clerk in person or by telephone (01903 746547) at least 24 hours before the meeting, on a first come, first serve basis. Answer phone messages or emails will not count.

For more information visit www.saveourstorrington.org.uk