Convenience store impact on local centre approved with shoppers retained

The change of use of a car garage lying on the edge of a local centre in Surrey to accommodate a Sainsbury's convenience store would not adversely affect its vitality and viability.

The new store would lie approximately 115 metres from the boundary of the centre which contained a One Stop store with post office. The existing independent butchers, delicatessen and off licence had already tailored their offer to complement the One Stop outlet, an inspector held, and despite local fears he did not believe that the Sainsbury’s would divert much trade from these specialist shops. Indeed, the proposal was more likely to attract people who shopped at an out of centre Asda store and elsewhere, potentially increasing trade within the centre as a whole. Parking at the store would allow some customers the opportunity to walk into the centre, generating linked trips such that no independent traders would close.

The One Stop store was operated by Tesco and appeared successful. It was a resilient store combined with an internal post office. The inspector did not think it would close and the proposed Sainsbury’s, being close to a railway platform, would pick up some trade from commuters returning home. This was unlikely to poach much trade from the Tesco outlet, the inspector held. The change of use would not therefore cause significant harm to the local centre nor the character of the area.

Inspector: David Nicholson; Hearing

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