Horror over supermarket plan for Petworth

Opposed to Morrisons - .Carolyne Smith, who lives above the antique shop
Opposed to Morrisons - .Carolyne Smith, who lives above the antique shop

RESIDENTS of a listed building in the centre of Petworth were horrified to discover plans to turn the former Richard Gardiner Antiques shop below their flats into a Morrisons supermarket

Morrisons have refused to comment on the plan, claiming it is ‘speculation’.

But Carolyne Smith, who shares one of the flats above the former antiques shop with her husband Adrian, has received a letter from the owners of the Swan House building.

Ractcliff Hotels Ltd told her: “After a long search we have recently agreed terms with Morrisons Plc to take a lease on all over the ground floor units for the purpose of installing a convenience store subject to planning consent.”

Although change of use permission is not required as the shop already has retail use, a listed building application has been submitted to the South Downs National Park Authority by Rapleys commercial property and planning consultants. They are asking for retrospective permission for internal alterations to the ground floor.

Mrs Smith says neighbours in the other flats above the shop share their horror.

“We came to live here in 2011. It’s one thing living above an antiques shop, it’s quite another living above a supermarket. We would never have dreamed of buying this place if we had known about this.”

“We have nothing against Morrisons, but this is not the right place for a supermarket. It’s a beautiful grade II-listed building and there is no way it could be made attractive by having a Morrisons there.”

She added: “We have a massive lorry problem in Petworth already and they could not deliver goods or take away their rubbish without causing traffic chaos in the centre of the town.

“We have two fabulous delicatessens and the Co-op already and we don’t need another supermarket.

“The noise will be terrible as far as the residents are concerned, as the supermarket will be stacking shelves through the night and there will be extractor fans 24 hours a day.”

Mrs Smith has asked for support from the Petworth Town Council and Petworth Business Association, and has also written a letter of objection to Chichester District Council.