Sainsbury’s plans for the Clifton’s Site


The planning committee debated last night and have agreed to a temporary variation of opening times as per Sainsbury’s request.

Sainsburys will be able to open from 07.00am to 10.00pm Monaday to Saturday and 08.00am to 8.00pm on Sundays for 18 months starting today, even though the store is yet to be built! The Council’s legal officer felt that this was the only way the agreement could be worded, whereas the committee itself wanted a trial for 12 months from the date the store opens.

During the next 18 months, the council has said it will gain evidence of noise and traffic concerns. What this will mean in practice is unknown as once the store is built and operating it would be exceptionally hard to close down.

A few points worth mentioning

  1. There were no Knaphill Councillors at the meeting [although Melanie Whitehand did submit a letter prior to the debate (link to letter)]
  2. No Councillor suggested rejecting the request from Sainbury’s
  3. The Council blame Surrey Highways for lack of assistance with the original request [caution: buck passing…]



The application is due to be debated on the 18th October according to Melanie Whitehand.

Please see Phil Stubbs’ comment below for the KRA’s observations and commentary, as sent to all local councillors and the planning committee.

You may also like to browse through the Knaphillian forum topic on the subject here


The planning officers have recommended the application for a change of trading and delivery hours to be APPROVED despite a mass of objections and commentary from Melanie Whitehand.

The application is on the agenda for the forthcoming planning committee meeting on the 27th September at 7pm in the council chambers. This meeting is open to the public and anyone who registered their objection should have received a letter offering the opportunity to speak at the meeting. Anyone wishing to speak should register their intent with the council prior to the meeting.



Early in February local people became aware of Sainsbury’s plans to lease the premises to be re-developed on the site of Clifton’s, 15 High Street, Knaphill: PLAN/2011/0062 (See KRA’s earlier article and comments). There seems to be a growing momentum of opposition to this Planning Application.

Last year The Clifton family submitted a Planning Application PLAN/2010/0085 (which received planning approval) to re-develop the Clifton’s site: For the Erection of a three storey building containing A1 (retail) use at ground floor and 7 x 1 bedroom and 5 x 2 bedroom flats at first and second floors following the demolition of the existing shop and workshops at 15 High Street and 6 Fosters Lane.

Also, on the 2010 Application, on the section for the retail premises there was ‘Condition 7’ that: “The premises hereby approved shall not be open to customers and have no deliveries between the hours of 8.00 pm and 8.00 am Monday to Saturday inclusive, comply with Sunday Trading Restrictions and have no deliveries on Sundays unless agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.”

This latest 2011 Appliction proposes changes to Condition 7. Before taking up the Lease, Sainsbury’s want: “The premises shall be open to customers between the hours of 7.00 am to 11.00 pm Mondays to Saturdays and 10.00 am to 4.00 pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays”.Residents can see the detail of both Applications on the Woking Borough Council (WBC) website then key in the relevant Planning Application Number (as listed above).

People from all sections of the community are registering their Comments on the WBC site in relation to the lastest Plan/2011/0062 and most of them seem to be expressing opposition. There seems to be growing concern and calls for a Public Meeting to discuss the impact this kind of development could have on the centre of the village.

The original Application was opposed by some residents, especially those who live close to Cliftons, but many people may not have been aware of the project and for whatever reasons did not get involved in the discussion at that time. This latest Application has raised wider questions and made more people aware of the issues…….Many people are saying this strikes at the heart of the viability of many of the small businesses in Knaphill, who are already fighting for survival because of the Big Sainsbury’s Store down the road, and of the life of the Village Centre.

Objection forms are circluating in the village and are available in many local shops. They raise concerns regarding:
* Increased Traffic within the village
* Parking Problems on the High Street adjacent to the new development & surrounding streets
* Increased anti-social behaviour
* Increased noise and light pollution
* Reduced competition, as there is already a Sainsbury’s within close distance to the village
* Damage to the sustainability of existing local shops

Whatever your views, please don’t just sit back and ignore this. Check the Planning Applications, think about the implications and register your comments. Since the Application was submitted over 300 comments have been added to the WBC site and most are strong statements of OBJECTION. (KRA is checking the Comments each day… at 26th Feb. over 300)
Have your say!!

12 Comments on “Sainsbury’s plans for the Clifton’s Site

  1. I was the only local Councillor who spoke up, following a request by the residents who are to be affected adversely by this development, against the original planning application when it was debated by the Council Planning Committee meeting that went on to approve it. I am again supporting those same residents who now are having to fight against this application to lengthen the previously approved trading hours. It is a great shame that this campaign is having to be waged in order to protect the peaceful lives of local residents and which threatens local traders struggling to retain their livelihoods in the present economic climate.
    Councillor Melanie Whitehand


  2. I thought villagers might be interested in the following extract from the “Corporate Responsibility Review” contained within Sainsbury’s “Annual Report and Financial Statements 2010”:

    “Making a Positive Difference to our Community

    Our stores are at the very heart of the communities they serve. For us this is not only about providing great service and quality products. It’s also about making a positive difference to our communities and being a good neighbour. With almost 150,000 colleagues throughout the UK, we are a major contributor to local employment. Whilst we clearly have a significant economic impact, as one of the major local employers, of equal and increasing importance is the social impact we have on local communities. When developing plans for new stores or store improvement programmes, we always engage and consult with members of the local community, council and key stakeholders……..””

    Perhaps we could have a show of hands so that we can see how many “members of the local community” Sainsbury’s have actally consulted on this proposal, in accordance with their corporate pledge?

    The answer is obvious – exactly the same number as they consulted on their proposed expansion of their Redding Way store!

    Clearly, Sainsbury’s don’t want to listen to the views of the Local Community. Let us at least hope that the Planning Department at Woking Borough Council starts to!


  3. Absolutely!!!

    I do believe that residents should make their voices heard and I hope I can be of use with that.
    I am lobbying the planning department hard on this application.

    Best wishes
    Melanie Whitehand


  4. Whilst I can understand that the nimby brigade will be up in arms. However it is already a retail outlet. The fact that Sainsbury wish to add a bit of competition to the monopoly that Coop have in the village, surely can’t be a bad thing. It will create jobs and stop all the lawnmowers being a health and safety hazzard each spring/summer.
    I doubt that some of the other objections are more than words. Especially the traffic point. Sainsbury’s locals are really designed for walk on trade and I’m sure a lot of the residents that are “concerned” would soon be shopping there.
    There are questions to be answered about deliveries and I can see this as a legitimate concern. However Cliftons had deliveries so there must be a way.
    Put simply questions need to be answered and I agree with Paul that Sainsbury need to do a better job with consultation. But would we rather have another empty retail property that brings nothing to the town/village?


  5. I didn’t realise this had been planned and will be registering my objections! I visited the KRA website initially though to see if there had been any comments about the planning permission to knock down the old library and build commercial units and six flats??? The site is coming up for auction on 16th March.


  6. I am in favour of any outlet that provides competition to the Coop, and provide some “life” to the village in the evening. Many times I have got off the ‘bus around 6pm, and the village is lifeless. In fact, I wonder about my personal safety when I walk home.
    The only objection I have is that it would be another Sainsbury’s store, and not that of another leading supermarket chain.


  7. Just received the papers for next weeks planning meeting. The two Sainsbury’s planning applications are listed and they have been refused!!!
    well done to all who objected..

    Best wishes
    Melanie Whitehand


  8. This is wonderful news. The Co-op does not have a monopoly as there is the general store on the other side of the road as well as the petrol station shop. And really, for most of us, a walk to the Sainsbury’s superstore is not that hard…
    In fact, if you are 60+, you can get a very frequent free bus there!


  9. The current application in front of the Planning Committee is limited to a variation in the opening times of the proposed store however in looking through the documenst for the initial application submitted by Clifton’s it should be reviewed. I make this statement because the majority of the work done by Planning Officers on the original application to demolish the current building and replace it with a much larger building was carried out without the Authority knowing what the shop would be used for.

    The Planning Officers recognised that this project is one of the largest sites in Knaphill to come up for development and therefore it was important that the Authority made sure that the application met all the criteria. I highlight two questions that the Authority had to answer before making a decision on the application.
    1. Additional retail floorspace should be appropriate to the scale and character of the center and will be permitted provided the development is located in or in close proximity to the retail service area and the proposal has no adverse impact on the other shopping centres and the relevant design and car parking requiremenst are met.
    2. The Authority can refuse planning application which fail to protect existing facilities which provide peopel’s day-today needs.

    How the above questions could be answered without the Authority knowing who would be the tenant of the new shop I do not know. There appears to have been two months between the name Sainsbury’s appearing in documents and the planning application being approved. Did the Authority review their original ground work? Did the Authority carry out a traffic study on the impact of a supermarket on the High Street without any dedictaed parking?

    The whole application from Clifton’s and Sainsbury’s should go back for a full independent review especially an impact study on traffic and parking during early mornings and the impact on all businesses in the vilage not just the Co-op.


  10. It was extremely disappointing to hear that this application had been given approval despite the many hundreds of objection letters sent to the Planning Department.
    Unfortunately I was unable to attend the meeting on the 18th October due to a previous long term appointment, I did not expect that ths application would be deferred for two weeks, which was why I sent in my letter outling the reasons I felt that a refusal should have been the only correct decision on this application. I am staggered that the planning applications re. this site have all been approved despite, what to me and obviously the many Knaphill residents who registered their concerns, the incompatibility that the new development will have with the current street scene, the need for another local Sainsbury’s store despite a more than adequate one is very close by and the damage that will be meted out to the independant shops in the High Street by having to compete with a very large succesful supermarket chain. If all of these conundrums could be explained to me I would be very grateful!!

    Melanie Whitehand


  11. As reported in The Informer (8/12/2011), Clifton’s planned move is due for March 2012. They’re due for a new building just off Carthouse Lane so work in converting the site should begin shortly after that…


  12. The KRA have been notified that Commercial Development Projects Ltd have lodged an appeal against the Planning Committees decision to only allow extended opening times for a trial period. One interesting point is that the application to vary the opening times (Variation of Condition 7) was submitted by Sainsburys but the appeal has been submitted by CDP Ltd.

    We will update this story once we have more details.


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