In the summer Sainsbury’s put in a Planning Application to make a substantial extension to their local store. Many residents and businesses made comments about the plan, raising important questions about the expansion and the likely increased traffic flows, noise and the impact on other shops in the area and on the local community.
It was thought that a decision would have been made by 6th October (which was the “Due Date” for the determination of Sainsbury’s planning application); but, this date has now passed and no decision has yet been made. A date for the application to come before Woking Borough Council’s (WBC) Planning Committee has yet to be resolved. Recent discussions with WBC’s Case Officer handling the application suggest that the application is unlikely to be heard until a mid-December committee date at the earliest.
Things may seem to have gone quiet, but just to make clear to local residents…..whatever you may have read elsewhere…..No decision has yet been made about Sainsbury’s Planning Application.There have been delays; the main reasons for the delays appear to be that the Council are still awaiting answers from other agencies to valid questions highlighted by residents. There were a number of matters that were not clear in Sainsbury’s original Planning Application so WBC is waiting clarification on these points:
(a) Awaiting a consultation response from their Planning Policy department.
(b) Awaiting a consultation response from Surrey County Council’s highways department (following a request for additional information from Sainsbury’s).
(c) Awaiting further input from the Environmental Health Department /Planning Enforcement Department regarding the store’s alleged non-compliance with existing planning conditions and noise nuisance caused to neighbouring residents.
“Behind the scenes” discussions seem to have been taking place between WBC and Sainsbury’s, but none of the additional information submitted by Sainsbury’s has yet been published on Woking Borough Council’s planning portal since 12 August 2010. This is disappointing.
The lack of detailed updates on the WBC website makes it difficult (if not impossible!) for local people to have information about what is happening, so rumours and hearsay can flourish. Residents and businesses cannot know if the concerns they raised in representations to the application (e.g. the traffic impact; the retail impact; the loss of trees within the car park; the design/appearance of the store, etc.) have or have not been adequately addressed by Sainsbury’s.
Prior to the formal committee date to be advised by WBC, the Council will publish a report setting out the Council officer’s opinions on the application. We will publish a link to this report and let you know the proposed committee date as soon as we have it. Please keep checking back here for further information regarding Committee dates, etc.
BACKGROUND: KRA raised objections to that Planning Application on the following grounds:
That there should be Community Consultation – With a Public Exhibition and Meeting so local people could see and understand the application before any decision is made.
That there should be a full Retail Impact Assessment – so that the effect of the expansion on local shops and traders could be properly considered. (A walk through Knaphill village centre gives an idea of the impact that a large store in the neighbourhood can have on a small, local High Street).
That there should be a more thorough Transport Assessment – because the Transport Assessment submitted by Sainsbury’s seemed to be inadequate.
That the Environmental Impact – particularly noise and pollution from increased cars and delivery vehicles.
Concerns about the negative impact on the local community – if there is a loss of small local shops and businesses that support community life.
An online poll on this website suggested that the majority of respondents did not think the expansion of Sainsbury’s would be good for Knaphill.
KRA is pleased to hear from any residents, businesses or community groups etc. whether they are in favour or against the expansion plans. Please add your COMMENTS below. We think it important that local views are given a chance to be heard and that proper local consultation should take place; and we believe any discussions should be in the open and not behind closed doors.