ASDA bypasses views of public about its new store plan

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MAJOR highway changes are set to be approved for the proposed ASDA supermarket site in Ferring without any debate by councillors or public consultation.

Instead, the decision is being taken by county highway officers, prompting a furious reaction from councillors and even a Parliamentary question by MP Sir Peter Bottomley.

ASDA has used a procedure known as a section 278 agreement to seek permission for a right turn junction, controlled by traffic lights, into the former Country Fayre garden centre site where planning permission has been granted for a supermarket. The procedure allows road schemes linked to sites with planning approval to go ahead without a further planning application, ruling out any discussion by councillors, and requiring no public consultation.

Now, four county councillors sitting on a highways group for the east Arun area have made a last-ditch attempt to stop the ASDA junction and have called instead for improvements to the A259.

Arun District Council cabinet member for planning Ricky Bower said: “I am terribly frustrated there has been no debate or consultation. I am appalled on behalf of the communities of Ferring, East Preston and Angmering and the district as a whole. I have done everything I can to stop this but I have, effectively, been blocked by the system.”

In his written Parliamentary question to the Department for Transport, Sir Peter has raised concerns over the failure to consult the public and councillors over the road scheme and asked if there is a mechanism for overturning such a proposal if there has been no consultation.

At its meeting on Monday night, Ferring Parish Council agreed to continue its fight against the ASDA supermarket. Chairman Carole Robertson said: “Every aspect of their plans causes intolerable problems for the village. Everyone is against their sewage disposal plan and that has been made very clear to ASDA. The next battle is over the traffic arrangements.”