Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Sainsbury's in Whitton - Planning Update

Over the weekend many of you will have seen a petition in the High Street at the Hyundai Garage for a proposed development that will see the demolition of the existing garage and the erection of a new building that will provide new retail space and 9 new flats. Sainsbury's have been identified as the company who will occupy this space if the application is successful.

It is my belief that this development will bring huge benefit to Whitton and its Town Centre. Throughout the election one common theme I received from residents was the desire to bring new and exciting developments to Whitton to reinvigorate the High Street, and the one company that was mentioned above all was Sainsbury's. From the amount of people and interest that was on shown during the weekend I am emboldened to work to ensure this happens.

It is for this reason that on Thursday 3rd February I have asked the planning committee to consider this application on the back of a recommendation for refusal from planning officials.

Cllr Elliott speaking to a resident
 signing the Sainsbury petition
While I acknowledge that this proposed development has brought about much debate I believe that it is too important for Whitton to be simply refused. Whitton has suffered from a significant lack of investment and this site represents a multi-million pound opportunity for the town. The addition of a sainsbury's convenienace store would also attract people back into Whitton, many who otherwise might travel to Hampton or to the larger Tesco store near the Rugby Ground. The new store would also bring much needed employment opportunities to Whitton on top of a multi-million pound investment. It is a worrying fact that before the large Supermarket was built 45% of Whitton residents shopped in Whitton yet today it is only 15%. This figure is too low to ensure continued sustainability and it is only through anchor stores such as Lidl and Sainsbury's that this can be reversed.

The proposed building itself is striking and has fostered much discussion. Whether you like it or not it is certainly a building that will get people speaking. Design is subjective and some people will not like it. However, it has been designed around a 1930's theme which aligns itself with the thirties architecture of the High Street. It would certainly be an iconic building in the centre of the High Street.

The Committee will meet on Thursday 3rd February from 6:30pm at York House.
http://www.richmond.gov.uk/home/environment/planning/planning_committee_meetings/planning_committee-details.htm?mgl=ieListDocuments.aspx&CId=224&MId=2482&Ver=4

Details of the applicaiton can be found here: http://www2.richmond.gov.uk/PlanData2/Planning_CaseNo.aspx?strCASENO=10/3178/FUL