Petworth supermarket fear is unfounded

Swan House
Swan House

FEARS that Petworth could lose its supermarket have been allayed.

Chairman of the town council Chris Kemp moved to assure people after rumours circulated that if the Co-op failed to get planning permission for its proposed new site at Swan House it would move out altogether.

“The town council contacted the Co-op because of growing rumours and they have confirmed to us they will be staying in the town.”

The Co-op has been planning to move across the road to the former antiques shop for more than two years.

The news came in April 2014 following months of speculation, including talks of a Morrisons opening up on the site.

But it has been battling with the South Downs National Park Authority over detailed planning permissions ever since.

A spokesman told the Observer this week: “We are now preparing a revised application for submission in the next few weeks which we believe addresses the planning authority’s concerns.”

In January 2014, the Co-op applied for permission to carry out minor ground floor alterations, install a new access and further alterations for a refrigeration and air conditioning plant.

There were a raft of objections and the plan was refused on the grounds it would be detrimental to the fabric and character of the listed building.

In April 2014, the store applied for several non-illuminated signs.

These were also refused.

In the meantime, Lloyds Chemist is hoping to move into the present Co-op building if the supermarket’s plans go ahead.

But it withdrew its plan to change the colour of the shop front and the shop doors in December.

Mr Kemp said: “The new site is not a done deal yet, but at least we have the good news the Co-op is, one way or another, staying in the town.”

He said consultation through the emerging neighbourhood plan showed residents wanted a bigger supermarket in the town.

Swan House would provide 2,700 square feet of sales area, more than double the size of the present Co-op.

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