Although Woking’s Planning Committee approved the latest application from Sainsbury’s to extend their store in December 2011 the legal paperwork was only completed in August this year. With any major planning agreement there are a number of planning conditions that the developer has to meet either before the developer starts to build or before the shop owner starts to trade in the extension.
As residents will know, the determination of this application has always raised concerns on a number of grounds. Even now, such concerns continue and there are a number of procedural matters that the KRA consider still need challenging, even the general legality of the Decision that has been taken. The KRA has therefore made a formal complaint to Woking Borough Council.
One of the principle benefits for local residents that was to have been secured by the grant of this planning permission was the “full” enclosure of the service yard to address noise impact concerns. Such work was imposed as a planning condition which needed to be discharged prior to other works.
The Planning Committee (presumably even at that time sceptical of Sainsbury’s intent to deliver their promises), insisted that the design of the conditioned enclosure has to be returned to the full Planning Committee for approval and that the enclosure of the service yard had to be given priority in carrying out any building work.
One of our colleagues and Cllr. Melanie Whitehand met with Sainsbury’s team last week to discuss their plans for the enclosure of the service yard. The first disappointment was that even before that meeting had had an opportunity to take place, Sainsbury’s had already submitted their plans for approval to Woking Borough Council. The second disappointment was that it was quite clear from those plans that the current enclosure design does not deliver the “promises” made to residents and the Planning Committee.
On a slightly more positive note, Sainsbury’s team have advised that they will “re-visit” their designs. The KRA will continue to challenge robustly any proposals that do not deliver what was promised to residents (and the Council) last year. We will update you, once Sainsbury’s had advised further.
We also now wait to see what action will be taken by Woking Borough Council in response to our complaint.
P.S. Just in case any residents are wondering why they are not actually aware that the Council’s decision has been issued – there is a very simple explanation. WBC have not yet sought fit to advise you! That is despite such formal notification being a requirement of their own Statement of Community involvement and Charter for Development Enabling.