The Sainsbury’s application to expand their Brookwood / Knaphill Superstore was refused at the Council Committee Meeting on 22nd March. The four grounds given in the Officers Report were upheld. (See earlier KRA posting for details).
1. RETAIL POLICY – There was a lot of heated discussion regarding the retail impact, with most Councillors dis-believing the conclusion of the independent report WBC had commissioned. It was minuted so that this matter could be re-addressed should Sainsbury’s submit a further application.
Plus 2, 3 & 4 : LOSS OF TREES, IMPACT on HIGHWAYS & TRAFFIC and NOISE & POLLUTION
There was also a great deal of concern expressed regarding air pollution – Cllr Preshaw leading on this – and Councillors agreed for their concerns being formally minuted. All in all, it seemed that none of the Councillors were happy with the proposal. Cllr Liddington also formally requested that any future applications made by Sainsbury’s should automatically be brought before the Committee. Cllr Whitehand spoke on the lack of opportunities for effective Community Involvement at the planning stage, and on Sainsbury’s failure to engage with the local community.
The Sainsbury’s expansion plans are on hold…..for the moment. Proposed changes to Planning regulations being put forward by Central Government and the substantial resources of large companies to persist and pursue their plans even against local concerns and opposition mean that this subject is likely to surface again at a future date…….
The KRA was at the forefront of encouraging local awareness of this issue and facilitating discussion and debate. Keep watching this space for future updates and information. We don’t claim to have all the answers….but we aim to ask the right questions…..so that local residents have access to accurate information about what is happening and can then make their own decisions.