RESIDENTS have spoken of their frustration that plans for a supermarket have taken years to get under way.
Sainsbury’s plan for a new supermarket and doctors’ surgery in Bishop’s Waltham first came to light in 2009 and it was given initial planning permission in April 2011, which was then formally granted on December 1, 2011.
Thousands of residents wrote to the council in support and against the proposals.
Residents now fear that unless work starts soon, this planning permission will expire and Sainsbury’s may pull out — something which the store denies.
Dennis Green, 85, from Bishop’s Waltham, said residents were concerned by the lack of activity.
He said: ‘We were reassured that Sainsbury’s was going to come soon, but we have heard that if they do not make some effort to start this month, they will have to reapply for planning permission.
‘There are a lot of residents who want Sainsbury’s to open, but we are worried as everything has gone so quiet.’
The supermarket has moved to reassure residents, saying it ‘remains committed to the proposals’ after men were spotted at the site.
They said work had been delayed due to the bad weather holding up ecological surveys and significantly delayed by one objection to its plans to close a section of Station Road, which led to a public inquiry.
These issues have now been overcome and technical surveys are under way. The spokesman said the store was working to discharge the planning conditions that must be resolved before work can start and that planning permission states work should begin by December 1.
He added: ‘There remain a number of detailed matters that are in the process of being resolved.
‘It is anticipated that the last remaining matters will be finalised by the spring and a start on site date confirmed later this year. Sainsbury’s will keep the community updated as the plans are progressed.’
Peter Watson, chairman of Bishop’s Waltham Another View, which campaigned for Sainsbury’s to come, said the surgery was ‘badly needed’ and that he felt some objections had been purposeful.
He said: ‘There have been rumours because of the length of time it has taken. After the effort and money spent, I’d be surprised if they ditched the store at this stage.’