Sainsbury’s Redding Way expansion, revised Planning Application – here we go again

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Residents living close to Sainsbury’s Redding Way Store have recently been notified that a revised application has been submitted to Woking Borough Council (WBC).

The latest Application is PLAN/2011/0160 which once again seeks the expansion of the Knaphill/Brookwood Sainsbury’s Store. This application seems to have been made on 24 February 2011 – a number of weeks BEFORE the outcome of the earlier Sainsbury’s Application had been made public.

Sainsburys seem determined to get more sales space in Knaphill; the latest planning documents show that the application is broadly as previously submitted. The main changes are that:

(i)    Noise barriers are now proposed around the service yard and access road to address noise concerns raised by local residents.

(ii)  A revised landscaping scheme is being offered to address concerns about the loss of trees on the site

but, in terms of the size of the store, the amount of additional sales space remains unaltered.

The new application again asserts that the expansion will not have any adverse retail impact of Knaphill Village Centre and refers to an “independent retail impact assessment” commissioned by Woking Borough Council. This report appears to support Sainsbury’s assertion. However, if you read this report, it raises a number of matters about which some of our members have expressed deep concerns.

Perhaps the most significant of these relate to the size of the proposed expansion. The report commissioned by WBC gives the following information:

1. The expanded store would be the largest retail outlet in the whole of Woking borough.

2. The expanded store would be 42% bigger than Morrisons in Woking and 31% bigger than Tescos store at Brooklands Weybridge.

3. The expanded store would effectively be the same size as the Tesco Extra store in Sandhurst.

The independent report also clearly questions Sainsbury’s motive for wanting to expand – it states:  “…given that the extended store would be the largest in the Borough by some 1,978 sqm, we do not agree that the size of the extension is driven entirely by valid planning arguments of improving competition and quality.”

Some members of the community may welcome a much bigger store and choice of goods, but others may feel that such substantial changes may have too great an impact on the local community. Could Knaphill Village survive with a Sainsbury’s of this size so close by? Could the High Street adapt and cope? Or would it be like High Streets all over the country…..with shops boarded up and small traders unable to compete?

As we have noted before on the KRA site, we are aware that shopping habits have change, that today’s customers want choice in goods and services…….But how can the communities around giant retail stores survive?

Please add your comments below, let us know your views – is Knaphill the right location for such a store?

Details of the current application can be found on the WBC website: http://caps.woking.gov.uk/online-applications/
and key in the Plan details PLAN/2011/0160

The retail impact report commissioned by WBC can be found by opening the PDF via this link: Sainsburys_Expansion_Plans_WBC_Retail_Impact _Assessment 

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About Author

Andy is a business systems and operations consultant for The Business Delicatessen and has helped the KRA over several years. He is former editor of the magazine and also runs Fat Crow Design.

2 Comments

  1. My answer to the question posed in your article is “NO”……..a “supersized” Sainsbury’s store is not right for Knaphill. Let me explain why.

    It seems that Sainsbury’s have actually submitted THREE Planning Applications covering different aspects of the developments they are proposing for the Knaphill Store:
    PLAN/2011/0160 is broadly similar to last year’s
    PLAN/2011/0338 is an application to vary various existing conditions
    PLAN/2011/0348 is a “standalone” application to install acoustic barriers

    The following thoughts may be of interest to residents:

    • Woking Borough Council has recently served a “Breach of Condition Notice” on Sainsbury’s following a number of site visits that confirmed the store fails to comply with conditions imposed by their existing planning permission – conditions specifically imposed to control noise from deliveries and unloading activities. In response to this, Sainsburys have implemented a “Service Yard Noise Management Plan”. Except they haven’t!

    • In PLAN 2011/0348, Sainsburys have offered to install acoustic barriers around the service yard and access road. However, the report accompanying the latest application confirms that, even with these barriers in place, the store will still not comply with the extant conditions imposed by the Council.

    • The independent report commissioned by Woking Borough Council indicates that the expanded store would become – the largest in the whole of the Borough – by a very substantial margin.

    • Is it appropriate to expand to a store of that size located in the heart of a densely populated residential area and accessed from a road which is already heavily congested at times?

    • A report commissioned by Sainsbury’s assures us that there will be no “significant” impact on our local shops…….And Sainsbury’s say they don’t intend this site to become a “destination” store (i.e. drawing more people from further afield into the store to buy their comparison goods) and that the additional goods on offer will simply be purchased by people as “extras” to their normal weekly shop. Sainsbury’s report assures us this will be the case; but given past experience, local people have become cynical of Sainsbury’s assurances.

    And finally, Sainsburys, have once again failed to engage the local community in any formal consultation on their proposals – despite this being encouraged in both national and local planning policy for developments of this type.

    So, I repeat, my answer to the question posed in your article is a clear “NO”……..a “supersized” Sainsbury’s store is not right for Knaphill.

  2. Sharon Murray on

    The same thing is happening in Erdington Birmingham at the moment. We are at the pre-planning application stage and would welcome any advice. The new proposed store will be a threat to our High Street and the placement of the Service Area in the middle of residential housing has upset and distressed all close residents. Help!

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