CONTROVERSIAL plans to build a supermarket that attracted criticism from residents, are still under way, despite being delayed by survey work.
Sainsbury’s supermarket has issued a statement to Bishop’s Waltham residents who were concerned that work has not yet started at the Abbey Mill site on the edge of town.
The supermarket plans had been opposed by the Bishop’s Waltham Action Group, which had the backing of former Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden. It ran a campaign to stop the 35,000sq ft superstore being built.
Planning permission was granted in January 2011, but was delayed due to Sainsbury’s wanting to close part of Station Road, and was finally given the go-ahead in January.
Heidi Isa, the market towns development officer, at Winchester City Council, said: ‘There has been speculation around Bishop’s Waltham that the supermarket group was not going ahead because they have been taking so long and have yet to lift a spade, but it is purely speculation.
‘We’ve been in talks with them and they said that because of the cold weather last year, this has delayed survey work but that work would be beginning next year.’
Ms Isa said the council was working to make the supermarket arrival a boon for Bishop’s Waltham as it would attract people to the town.
A spokesman from Sainsbury’s said that it intended to keep residents up to date with its progress.
It said: ‘We’re working on a number of technical surveys on the site which are required to finalise a detailed construction programme for the new store and to discharge the conditions associated with the planning permission.
‘We anticipate the surveys will be completed towards the end of the year.
‘Once the surveys are completed and the results analysed, we will be able to make progress.
‘We will keep the community updated as this process progresses.’
A spokesman at Bishop’s Waltham Parish Council said: ‘Sainsbury’s is continuing with the plans. It had quite a few conditions on the planning permission which it had to meet.
‘The parish council did object to the planning application but it was granted by Winchester City Council and we now working with Sainsbury’s for the good of the people in Bishop’s Waltham.’