PEOPLE have spoken of their relief as a site earmarked for a supermarket was put up for sale.
Hopes are high that the land in Bishop’s Waltham will be snapped up by a housing developer, or even turned into a hotel.
Sainsbury’s is trying to sell the land for an undisclosed multi-million pound sum following its withdrawal from the Abbey Mill site in Bishop’s Waltham earlier this year after a lengthy and controversial battle for planning permission, which divided residents’ opinion.
Tony Kippenberger, chairman of the Bishop’s Waltham Town Team, which led the anti-Sainsbury’s Bishop’s Waltham Action Group, said the news was a ‘relief’.
He said: ‘The site itself is barren vegetation and the old mill is in an increasingly bad state of repair.’
A survey was carried out by Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council last month asking residents what they would like to see happen to the site, including the 19th century Abbey Mill.
Mr Kippenberger said: ‘I believe the consultation will show that most people want to keep the mill and want it to be put it a variety of uses.
‘Some of us would love to see it turned into a hotel as Bishop’s Waltham is very short of hotel spaces.’
Sainsbury’s applied to build a 35,000sq ft store and doctors’ surgery in 2009. Some residents argued that allowing such a large store would kill the high street.
Others argued the doctor’s surgery was much-needed and, because of the town’s projected growth, better shopping facilities plus jobs were needed.
Even TV star Amanda Holden, who is originally from the village, spoke out against Sainsbury’s plans.
But, after gaining permission, Sainsbury’s announced it would not be going ahead with the plans in June after its profits dropped.
David Mills, head of property at Sainsbury’s, said: ‘We’ve started to market the site and will keep the community updated as we progress.’
It is offering the freehold for sale through Savills, with planning permission, although developers could take interest as the site won permission for housing in 2007. The site has a closing date for offers of Thursday, October 22.