SUPERMARKET bosses will hold a second public exhibition over plans for a controversial store next week.
Up to 13,000 residents in the Bishop’s Waltham area have received a brochure detailing revised proposals for the store on the Abbey Mill site.
Sainsbury’s bosses have also announced that a planning application will be submitted before the end of this month with building work starting as soon as September if the green light is given by council chiefs.
A number of changes have been made to the original plans submitted last year, including a new landscaped area between the store and South Pond, improved pedestrian linkage with St George’s Square and a new design to allow the building to blend into the landscape of the historic market town.
Max Whitehand, Sainsbury’s regional development executive, said: “We have listened to the community and have greatly improved our scheme, with significant additional investment proposed for the public realm, the design and materials proposed for the store and increased landscaping.
“In redesigning the building, we have pushed the limits of supermarket design. The result is a store that will be unique to Bishop’s Waltham and will attract shoppers into the town to enjoy all its facilities.
“While we recognise that there is significant objection to our plans, we know that there is also significant support from within the community for bringing greater main food shopping choice closer to home.”
The Bishop’s Waltham Action Group, which was set up to oppose the plans, told the Hampshire Chronicle that residents should have been given more notice about the public exhibition.
Chairman, Tony Kippenberg, said: “They have known that they were going to hold this consultation next Tuesday since the end of May and, up until today (Thursday), they have failed to tell a single resident in Bishop’s Waltham about it which I think is appalling given that it’s our parish council that insisted they have it.”
As part of the planning application, Sainsbury’s bosses have agreed to help finance a £1.6m relocation of Bishop’s Waltham Surgery to the Abbey Mill site if the supermarket is built.
The news follows Britain’s Got Talent judge and former Bishop’s Waltham resident, Amanda Holden, venting her anger over the controversial plans when she opened the town’s carnival last weekend.
The former Swanmore School pupil has vowed to help those trying to stop the building of the new store.
The public exhibition will be held at Jubilee Hall, Little Shore Lane, Bishop’s Waltham, next Tuesday, June 22, from 10am to 7pm.
Members of the Sainsbury’s team will be there to discuss the plans and answer questions.
For more information, ring the Sainsbury’s community information line on 0845 602 1151 or e-mail bwactiongroup.org.uk.