Thursday 14 March 2013

Sainsbury in Whittlesey - please write and Support

As you will recall, when the Sainsbury Supermarket, Country Park and Business Park in Whittlesey were approved  by the planning committee, they had to be referred to the Secretary of State for approval.  This is done via an organisation called the National Planning Casework Unit.  I can confirm that this has now happened and they have committed to make a decision by 21st March.

I would please urge anyone who cares about this to drop them a line to make representation.  The reference numbers to use are:

NPCU/CONS/D0515/71212 and NPCU/CONS/D0515/71214 

And the email address to use is:

Please use whatever reasons you think are appropriate, but the ones I shall be raising are:

1.  That the Sainsbury/Country Park/business Park solution has huge popular support in Whittlesey
2.  That the country park addresses a recognised shortage of open space in Whittlesey as identified in the extant District Wide Local Plan and Fenland District Council's 2006 audit of open space.
3.  That the business park will make Whittlesey more sustainable by creating local jobs.
4.  That representation from Tesco and/or Co-op will be for commercial reasons rather than planning
5.  That this is a local issue not one of National significance and therefore should be decided locally.

I would please urge you to make representation, it is important that we prove what we all know, that there is huge local support for the Sainsbury offer.


  1. They need a supermaket. In whittlesey. Cuz. They aint really got. One. And. Some pple haveter travel to march or peterborough to do a big shop

  2. We need a new supermarket in Whittlesey, the Sainsburys solution with a new business park and country park will bring much needed jobs into the area, and give somewhere to go at the weekends that is accessible to all.
    Time for the council to listen to the people and do what Whittlesey people want.

  3. Thanks for commenting here. Please please remember to write in and make your point.

  4. Such a confusing process. We have a public meeting and sainsbury get approved. Something changes and we're told the whole process must start again. This happens and once again sainsbury gains approval. I remember one of the members at the closing of the last meeting saying 'now lets get this supermarket built'. Now we hear this is now subject to further approval from the secretary of state? How much more approval do we need before we actually see people on site getting on with it?

  5. The country park idea is good, I think what ever happens please don't let our small shops suffer I actually like shopping in them too , I even work for a large supermarket chain and even with discount and stuff I shop local also and use Friday market .I know progress has to happen let's hope it's all for the good .

  6. Fear not I am watching

  7. Thanks for making it easy for us to do this - I have just posted my comments.

  8. Have written an email to the National Planning Casework Unit saying more or less what you have mentioned.

  9. Thanks all.

    Chris, I know the process is frustrating, but at the last meeting it was made plain that this would need to happen. That Fenland took so long to make the referral is a separate issue.

    It may get worse because after this we face the possibility of going through the courts. However, it is also possible that this will be the final step.

  10. I for one am not willing to see Sainsburys given permission for a Supermarket in the Whittlesey catchment whilst the permission for Tesco's in Station Rd is still in place and, according to both Harrier Developments and the planning department of Fenland District Council, is STILL going to proceed! The report by Roger Tym Associates states clearly that Whittlesey can only sustain ONE Supermarket without damage to the towns existing retail outlets. I think that the Sainsburys option ,if we HAVE to have a Supermarket then Sainsburys, by location, seems the better option but not until the Station Road development is revoked, failure to do so will lead to a blighting of the Town by the financial failure of the existing retail area on traffic chaos caused by increased traffic backing up into town waiting to cross the manual railway crossing. Who in the Council thought it wise to grant permission for the Station Road Development!!

  11. Thanks for making your views known, it is important that both arguments are heard.

    There are some very important issues here. The first is that whilst this saga is still ongoing, Tesco have to posture and make the claim that they will build on Station Road, whatever the circumstances. The truth is, however, that we have firm evidence that any approval on Eastrea Road would make Station Road unviable, so if Tesco did proceed in those circumstances they would be investing in a store that would make a loss for 25 years. At the planning meeting in January Tesco never once challenged the notion that Station Road would be unviable. Given that Tesco are currently laying staff off in other parts of the country, I consider it really unlikely that they would build a loss making store.

    Further to that, even if it was built the planning committee's view, quite rightly in my opinion, is that the crossing gates and the fact that Sainsbury would be much more accessible would mean that the Station Road store would trade t such a low level that it would not impact on the Town Centre.

  12. That supposition does not negate the fact that Tesco still have full planning permission for the Station Road site and are pushing forward with it. If Sainsbury get planning permission for Eastrea road Whittlesey will end up with two supermarkets which according to the councils own report Whittlesey cannot support.

    The people of Whittlesey should get what they want, which if the turnout at the meeting is anything to go by, is ONE SUPERMARKET ON EASTREA ROAD. That is not what Whittlesey has got at the moment.

    The Council either need to give the Eastrea site to Tescos or take the Station Road site from them to achieve this.

    There is no joined up thinking and the errors made at the beginning of this debacle, whilst admitted to, are not being corrected.

  13. Tesco do not have full planning permission along Station Road. They have applied for Full permission, but currently only have outline permission.

    The survey I did showed overwhelming support for Sainsbury and a Country Park and actually some animosity towards Tesco. They did not just support one supermarket down Eastrea Road, partially because the Sainsbury offer was much greater than just a supermarket.

    In fact there was also real animosity towards the approach Tesco took and support for the assumptions the planning committee made about Station Road.

  14. Thank you Martin

    I have contacted the NPCU as you suggested.

    I am in support of the Country Park plans because I genuinely feel is is best for Whittlesey.

    I confess to having personal reasons for not wanting the Station Road site, not least though the approach and assumptions.

    I am not a confident as you that Tesco will not proceed. And further more Tesco will amaze me if they start to actually communicate and negotiate with affected neighbors.

  15. Michael, there are some down Station Road who would prefer a more cautious approach. I understand it, but Tesco have not played a nice game over this and the reaction I have had to what some have called 'blackmail' is that they do not want to give in to it and sacrifice the additional be benefits that come with the Sainsbury application.

    When it comes down to it, if Tesco do build I hope Whittlesey people have a long memory. I will, I shop at Tesco now, but I will never shop down Station Road at a Tesco.

  16. Thanks to everyone who has written in on this issue. We have just had the confirmation in today that this decision will not be called in by the Secretary of State. The decision has been taken a few days quicker than I expected and I suspect the level of correspondence was a factor in that.

    Another big step forward. The only thing that stands in the way now is legal challenge. But things can move forwards while we wait to see what will happen.

    1. Hi Martin,

      Is there full planning permission on the proposed site down station road?

      Everyone here hasn't really been kept in the loop.

  17. Not yet, but they have applied for it. This was something they needed to do to keep some skin in the game because their outline permission was due to run out. They have also appealed the refusal on Eastrea Road.

  18. hi Martin
    What is the latest on this? are we getting the Sainsbury store we all worked so hard to get, or is the local gossip true and a Tesco store is about to be built in Station Road?

  19. Things are still moving forwards with the Sainsbury store. There are some tough negotiations going on about the legal nature of the store between Fenland and Sainsbury. Whilst I am frustrated about the time it is taking, it does have to be right.

    I don't think there is any truth in the rumour about Station Road. Tesco applied for and got full planning permission there, but in my view only to keep some skin in the game for any possible legal dispute over Eastrea Road. If they hadn't done this, e outline permission they had would have expired.

  20. Thanks for getting back to us Martin, we all know you have put yourself on the line to support us, however I feel that Sainsbury are now in trouble, and I fear Tesco will start to build on Station Road in the next weeks, the town people want Sainsbury, so why have our council failed us? it has been a mess and Sainsbury have not done their homework, and now we have to have Tesco, shoddy is the word for FDC. maybe we should have taken more notice of Harrier, we may not want Tesco, but Harrier are the professionals in this war.

  21. excuse me for saying but did the whole of whittlesey turn out for the meeting...i think not... you can not go around saying" overwhelming majority" when only an extremely small minority of people turned up.
    personally although I think the country park is a good idea, the thought of sainsburys being built in whittlesey is crazy.
    the co op has , for years been stripping people of hard earned money with their high prices because they can, we had no other option. now "we" want a sainsbury that are generally high priced also.
    at least with Tesco you can make savings.
    how many young parents were at the meeting?? they are the ones that are suffering the most....
    get a grip, lets get this sorted and get something built... why as a country do we ALWAYS take years to agree something........

  22. Whittlesey need's Sainsbury's and not a Tesco.

    My mother has worked for Sainsbury's for 20 years and they are a good company to work for; they treat their staff AND customers well, as well has having good quality food. Supermarkets such as Tesco and Adsa, I feel, often treat customers like cattle in a factory.
    A spokes person for Sainsbury's has said they are in the final stages of council approval and are tying up loose ends
    This has been going on and on, it's nearly 2014 and my sincere hope is that they will announce when they will be building store (sometime in the new year) with an idea of an opening date.