Sainsbury's wants a foodstore in the north east of Hook but Tesco has criticised the plans
A supermarket war has broken out in Hook.
Sainsbury’s wants to build a new foodstore on land to the north-east of the town but rivals Tesco, which already has a supermarket in Station Road, claim the proposed store will affect the vitality of the town centre.
“A 30,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s store in an out of centre site off the A30 may well address expenditure leakage from Hook but will do little to support the vitality and viability of Hook village centre,” states Tesco in a letter to Hart District Council’s planning department.
“The proposed store is of a scale not commensurate with Hook either as existing or planned to grow.”
Land to the north east of Hook has been earmarked for an urban extension of around 500 new homes and related community facilities in Hart’s future development blueprint.
Its Local Plan Core Strategy states that convenience retail will be considered suitable provided it can be demonstrated that it will not harm the vitality and viability of the centre.
But Tesco claims the Sainsbury’s application has been submitted in isolation from the rest of the site, which is contrary to the Local Plan as it requires a comprehensive strategy for the area.
It added that Sainsbury’s has not demonstrated that its proposed out-of-centre store would not have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the centre and should therefore be refused.
The Sainsbury’s plan has divided the town. More than 130 people have commented on the application, with many warning it will cause traffic chaos.
But others say it will create up to 200 full and part-time jobs and give shoppers more choice.
Dermot Smith of John Morgan Close, Hook, said the scale of the proposed store was totally inappropriate.
“Sainsbury’s own retail statement admits that 60% of store revenue will come from customers travelling from outside the village so it is not a local store, it is in fact a regional store and this size of store should not be placed in a village location,” he added.
Objectors to the scheme warn it would cause an increase in traffic, as the bus services are inadequate and the railway station is too far a walk.
But Odiham couple John and Jean Layzell said: “At the moment the only food store in our village is a very small Co-op, which is woefully inadequate.
“This necessitates us travelling to Farnham for our weekly shopping which is not an easy journey at our age.
“Also, the opportunities for young local people to gain employment in the area is an added benefit.”
Sainsbury’s said it had submitted the application in light of ‘strong public support’ following a two-day public consultation last November.
Of the 1,836 feedback forms returned, 72% backed the scheme.
Andrew Pepler, Sainsbury’s regional town planning manager, said the feedback had been invaluable in helping to shape the planning application.
“We believe that a new foodstore in Hook would improve main food shopping choice and competition, help to keep people shopping locally and create up to 200 full and part-time jobs, supported by Sainsbury’s ‘You Can’ training and programme,” he added.
The new store will have 323 car parking spaces, including 20 dedicated disabled spaces and 13 for parents with children.
Hart planning officers hope to make a decision on the application by September 11.