THE final obstacle has been cleared for work to begin on a controversial new supermarket.
Work on the Sainsbury’s in Bishop’s Waltham had been put on hold while awaiting the outcome of a public inquiry following an objection being made to proposals to close a section of road.
The supermarket giant wanted to shut part of Station Road as part of its plans.
A one-day inquiry by the Department for Transport was held in October, but the inspector has now ruled that the stopping-up order can be granted.
Peter Watson, chairman of the Bishop’s Waltham Another View group had backed Sainsbury’s and said: ‘This stopping-up order was in the plans that everybody knew about, it was always there and was part of Sainsbury’s plans to build the store as they want to.
‘It angers many that in these quite difficult times for individuals and for public authorities, that so much money would have had to have been spent all because one person wanted to hold it up.
‘But we’re absolutely delighted that finally something’s going to happen.’
The Bishop’s Waltham Action Group had raised fears that it would destroy the market town economy.
Chairman Tony Kippenberger said: ‘The terms of referral for the inquiry were so tight that all the concerns we had weren’t admissible, they had been considered as part of the planning application, and this was quite specifically about the stopping-up order, not a review of the planning application.
‘We’re resigned to the fact that Sainsbury’s will arrive and now it’s about how we take it from here and manage and sustain the high street in the face of this out-of-town citadel.’
Actress and Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden grew up in the town and opposed the plans.
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said it was pleased with the decision to allow the stopping-up order and added: ‘Sainsbury’s remains fully committed to providing a new foodstore in Bishop’s Waltham and once the order has been formally made, work can begin to prepare for the construction of the new store.
‘We anticipate work on site could start in the summer.’
The inquiry was called as the result of an objection raised by town resident John Hayter. The News was unable to contact Mr Hayter.