WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON?
WE’VE BEEN DOING OUR BEST – BUT IT’S BEEN A LOSING BATTLE!
Winchester City Council issued written planning permission on 1st December 2011
Sainsbury’s say they hope to open their Bishops Waltham superstore in Spring 2013
Work on the Abbey Mill site is quite likely to start in March 2012
A quick recap
This has been our first newsletter for a long time and we are sorry about that; see our explanation below. But, because it has been such a long time, we thought a very quick recap might be useful, for more detail, please read the 7-page attachment to this email. If you just want a quick catch-up, this email should suffice.
Written Planning Permission
On Thursday 1st December, nearly seven months after that day when the Department for Communities and Local Government announced their decision not to call-in Sainsbury’s planning application, WCC finally issued written planning permission for the superstore.
Over those seven months, Sainsbury’s and Winchester City Council (WCC) had been trying to agree the Section 106 legal agreements – based on the conditions imposed on Sainsbury’s as part of WCC’s approval of their application. Only when the Section 106 Agreement is signed can written planning permission be issued.
The written permission (called a Decision Notice) and the Section 106 agreement between them cover the contributions that Sainsbury’s will make to various funds (for example: £75,000 for town centre improvements – to be agreed with the Parish Council – and over £200,000 to improve St George’s Square). They also cover the agreement not to open a Pharmacy, Post Office, Dry Cleaning and Café, and they define the specific opening and delivery hours and makes further reference to proposed changes to the B2177 Winchester Road. Clearly, there are elements here that will require continuing vigilance – see below (and see the attachment for links to the Section 106 agreements).
What else has happened over recent months?
We have been very aware that in our last newsletter, issued in May last year, we promised to stay in touch. This was something that proved much more difficult to do than we expected – not least because many possibilities that were being explored needed to remain confidential. Regrettably, we have every reason to believe that Sainsbury’s have so-called ‘sleepers’ on our email list who receive copies of our emails, and that their BWAV supporters would pass on any hard copies picked up in High Street shops. So we are sorry for this protracted silence!
But much has occurred and it is covered in some depth in the attachment to this email. For example, we investigated a Judicial Review but decided the costs and risks are too high and the likelihood of overturning the WCC or DCLG decisions too low. We looked at many different options, and used the Freedom of Information Act to gather information, but all to little avail. Where appropriate individual BW residents took action – for which many thanks (BWAG is neither a charity nor a membership body).
Finally, we wrote one last letter to WCC in November seeking to get the planning committee recalled in order to consider information we believe they did not take properly into account – the whole Heritage issue of the Palace and the Scheduled Ancient Monument.
However, once again, WCC rejected our proposals and conducted an all too familiar white-wash. See these letters on our website http://www.bwactiongroup.org.uk/.
What of BWAG now?
After the written permission was granted in December, we contemplated shutting down BWAG in the near term, but developments at Sainsbury’s Portswood superstore have changed our minds. As you may know Sainsbury’s are currently building a 4,465 square metres (net retail space) superstore in central Portswood and now, while building is still continuing they have already applied for changes to the conditions! They want:
- To extend agreed opening hours of 8am-9pm Monday to Saturday to 7am-11pm instead
- To open the car park Monday to Saturday from 6.30am-midnight (half an hour before and an hour after the store would shut)
- To change current delivery time restrictions from 7am -11pm Mondays to Saturdays, to allow three deliveries to be received (or items despatched from the store) between the hours of 11pm-7am Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, instead of delivery being restricted to 8am-6pm, Sainsbury’s want to be able to make two deliveries after 6pm.
- They also want to have the restriction lifted that prevents them opening an in-store pharmacy!
It is just so brazen to agree such core conditions in order to get permission, only then to apply for major changes even before the store is built. So BWAG will stay in place to do whatever it can to stop similar attempts here. We may not now be able to stop Sainsbury’s coming, but we can do our best to stop such flagrant, barefaced behaviour.
We really would like to say a very big THANK YOU to everyone who has helped in this campaign. You are too numerous to mention, but you know who you are! The attached contains many people we wish to thank, but by no means all…
Read the full BWAG Extended Newsletter 33 v6 as a PDF document.