GIVEN the current economic environment and the plight of semi-rural villages as they fight to sustain their own micro economies, as a Storrington resident and local business owner, I am staggered by the some of the objections raised against the development of the Waitrose site in Storrington.
The current site is unkempt and tired and is in need of a complete upgrade, the space is very much under-utilised.
The introduction of a larger Waitrose store will generate significantly more, and much needed, employment for Storrington.
The increased footfall in the village will ensure that many more people have exposure to the existing businesses in Storrington, which in turn should raise the levels of business, not just for Waitrose, but for the business community as a whole.
It is, however, down to the local business to rise to meet the challenge of new shoppers coming into the village, this will require some change, some re-invention and some effort to capture new business.
But surely that is what business is all about?
We hear a lot about the pollution implications, however, these levels have been high for many years, predominantly due to the flow of traffic using Storrington as a rat-run to access other towns and counties.
Maybe those groups should concentrate on that aspect of the problem, rather than laying premature blame at the feet of a benevolent retail investor.
I somehow get the impression that there are local groups and individuals who are simply not comfortable with change, however, in reality, to ‘Save Our Storrington’, we need to change for the benefit of the entire community and that means including the real and significant Waitrose investment in our local village economy.
We should then broker the partnership with the local parish and district council to ensure that Storrington is promoted as a vibrant and healthy village with excellent shopping, restaurant, hotel and local business offerings.
Let’s embrace change and put our efforts into promoting the future of the whole village, of which Waitrose will be a key enticer of new income, rather than moaning about their arrival and in doing so, eclipsing everything else that is good about Storrington.
Managing director, Labelman Ltd
Water Lane Trading Estate, Storrington