VOTE: ASDA bosses visit Ferring to exhibit store plans

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THERE was passionate opposition to ASDA’s plans for its new Ferring store when representatives from the supermarket giant visited the village.

A two-day exhibition detailing some of the firm’s plans for the superstore on the A259 Littlehampton Road was held at the village hall in Ferring Street on Friday and Saturday – and most of the hundreds of people attending expressed grave concerns, particularly over a proposal to dump sewage from the store into Ferring Rife.

The public consultation was the first chance for village residents to have their say about the store, which the firm hopes will be open by November this year.

But for many, it was a case of too little, too late.

Ferring county councillor Peter Evans said: “ASDA are not making friends in the way they are going about things such as the sewage and roadworks schemes they need. With the village, they should win them over and not keep them in the dark.”

Peter added the Joint Area Arun Committee would be having a public meeting at Rustington Parish Rooms on March 7, at 7pm, to discuss the issues to do with the highways brought about by the development. One is a contentious proposal to install traffic lights at the store’s junction on the A259, and this will be the first chance residents have had to discuss it.

And as revealed in the Herald last week, the store has also applied to the Environment Agency to build a sewage treatment plant which would see secondary-treated sewage pumped into the Rife at a rate of 37,000 litres each day.

These were two of the most-raised topics at the exhibition.

Denis and Jenny Brackley, aged 75 and 73, of Ferring Lane, said: “Why put effluent into the Rife? I think they should connect up to the main sewerage system like everybody else.

“We don’t throw our waste into the Rife. If we did it, there would be an uproar.”

Colin Barrett, 64, of Alderney Road, said: “In the summer, all of us swim in the sea right next to where this effluent will come out. So it’s a big health concern.”

Mary-Ann Letton, of Langbury Lane, was worried about the traffic implications the new store would have on the village.

The 68-year-old said: “At commuter time, Langbury Lane already gets backed up, so this can only make it much worse.

“Ferring is a very attractive retirement village. You can’t change it, you can’t make it into a town – you haven’t got the space.

“I don’t think we can cope with more people coming through the village – I think they should sign people away from it.”

Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley has also weighed in, and said: “I think it was not right that the superstore plan did not need approval of a full planning application, nor that there appears to be no developer Section 106 contribution for community benefit were the application to be granted, nor that the transport changes needed were considered in advance.

“Additionally, the waste changes should have been published more openly so people could understand or, if they wished to, object.”

Sir Peter added he had asked ASDA for a detailed response about its perceived lack of communication about the scheme, and wanted to know why the store could not link up to the mains water system.

The Environment Agency had said comments or objections about the sewage plant application needed to be in by Monday, but due to the amount of public interest had now extended the deadline until February 27.

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Do you think ASDA should consulted the public more over its plans for the new Ferring store? Cast your vote in the panel to the right of the screen, and leave your comments below.