Public consultation for proposed store move

The Southern Co-operative is hoping to move its co-operative store from its current location in Wittering to the site of The Royal Oak pub which Enterprise Inns decided to close as the buildings were at the end of their economic life.

Store manager Kelly Hinshelwood said “We simply don’t have enough space to meet local demand. A new store will give us more space so that we can offer a bigger range of products, especially fresh and local food and will ensure that we can offer a much better service including improved parking facilities”.

So that The Southern Co-operative can share the plans with customers and residents, an open session has been arranged at East Wittering United Reform Church, 2 Oakfield Avenue, East Wittering, Chichester, PO20 8BU on Thursday 31st January from 10am to 8pm.

Thank you to all the people who have taken the time to submit comments about this proposal. In line with the public consultation which proposed a closing date for return of comment forms by 13th February 2013, we will also be closing this online forum on this date.

Thank you for the valuable feedback you have provided which will assist in shaping the planning application we anticipate making in due course. Needless to say, once an application is submitted, you will have a further opportunity to submit formal representation direct to the planning authority should you wish.

29 replies
  1. JB
    JB says:

    As far as I’m aware, the Royal Oak pub is NOT closed, and is in fact becoming a quite busy venue for locals. In the views of several people in the other local pub The Shore, competition is a good thing, and as there is already a perfectly good Co-operative store in the village and a Tesco metro, it seems excessive to pull down an historical landmark in East Wittering. Also the local stores are finding it hard enough to survive as it is. Do we want East Wittering to become a bland, faceless village catering to supermarkets? Well, my circle of family and friends certainly do NOT!

    • M. Henderson
      M. Henderson says:

      Today (21st januardy) I was dismayed to hear staff in the Co-op telling customers they were definitely moving to the site of the Royal Oak and that they had no idea what would happen to the old store. People are talking about the proposal all over E.Wittering and I’d be most unhappy if I thought it was a ~”done job”. I expect they will try paying off the landlord of the R.O.

      • admin
        admin says:

        TSC have owned The Royal Oak site since Summer last year. Enterprise Inns decided to put it on the market as the pub was not economically viable and we heard about the intended sale through a property agent. Since then, the current landlord has been paying us a rent that is lower than the commercial rent in order that the pub can stay open for the short term.

        Our reasons for wanting to move is that the current store can’t support local and seasonal demands and because of that we have been looking for a suitable alternative site for some time. If successful with our plans the old store will be put on the market and hopefully will attract a business that will add to the diversity of the village.

        We believe that a larger store will encourage people to stay in Wittering rather than shopping at the superstores around Chichester. Our plans are for a larger supermarket…not a superstore, therefore we won’t be putting in a butchery dept or a fresh fish counter or a cafe, Wittering is well catered for here by other retailers in the village and as a retailer with a supermarket in the village already we want it to stay that way. We will, if successful, be able to increase our range of groceries and fresh foods to include lines that we are currently unable to offer to local shoppers.

        We will also be continuing to support the community through our Community Support scheme as we have done for the past ten years.

        • M. Henderson
          M. Henderson says:

          A good reply, thank you. So in fact it is a “done job” and the so-called Public Consultation will be a complete waste of time for anyone who is objecting to the plans. Has planning permission been granted already?

          I am relieved to hear you aren’t planning a butchery, fish or cafe department, and I’m sure the local shop keepers will be too.

          I do feel the whole thing has been more than a bit sneaky, especially the landlord of the R.O. purporting to be expanding his business and encouraging locals to spend their money there.

          • Knowitall
            Knowitall says:

            If you check with CDC you will see that no planning application has been submitted.One would like to hope that the public consultation will allow Coop to adjust their plans to suit local needs and issues raised then.

          • Andreea
            Andreea says:

            Thank you. At the moment permission for a new development has not been given. We have had pre-planning discussions with the planning authority and they are aware that we will be holding a consultation with local residents so that we can listen to their opinions and suggestions.

  2. Knowitall
    Knowitall says:

    Just for information, because some people think The Royal Oak is listed, well, it’s not, so don’t use that as a debating point.

  3. M. Henderson
    M. Henderson says:

    Very good. Maybe you should instruct staff at the Witterings Co-op not to tell everyone they’re definitely moving. It would help blood pressure levels if nothing else. Wait and see then.

    • Knowitall
      Knowitall says:

      Emphasize the word “hoping” in your press release, and also the, hopefully, real desire to listen to local’s issues. As Michael Winner might say, “Calm down,dear”.

  4. S Taylor
    S Taylor says:

    If the co-op need to move because they cannot cope with busy summer trade, perhaps they should review staffing policies first, opening all the tills at the same time would help.
    You say there will not be a fresh fish or meat counter, but you already sell prepacked fish and meats, do you take us all for fools? You didn’t give it a second thought when you started selling newspapers and magazines, you already sell fresh fruit and vegetables and breads and pastries.
    Own the pub by all means,but invest in it, turn it into a modernized hotel, be good responsible landlords to the licensee, and you will earn a better name for yourselves

    • Knowitall
      Knowitall says:

      Nice idea, but I very much doubt if TSC bought the pub with any intention of becoming landlords. They are a retail operation, for heavens sake.

    • admin
      admin says:

      The meeting is open to the public so any one can attend but they won’t be attending in any official capacity.

  5. Sue
    Sue says:

    Unfortunately whatever people think and however they dress this up as “consultation” the Co-op moving to the Royal Oak is inevitable. What I find most hurtful is that they will be pulling down the old building and putting up a clinical carbon-copy commercial unit that is not in keeping with the village. The Royal Oak has been a public house (or one run from that site) for over 400 years, the history involved in that building is amazing – saved souls from wrecks off the bay would be put up there and for a brief time parts of it was used as a temporary morgue when there was nowhere else to put the deceased. Canadian soldiers camped out there during the war, the pub rented out beach huts and offered bed and breakfast In the mid 1900’s Breton fisherman came from france to sell onions in Sussex and Mr Steel the landlord befriended them and they would stay at the pub. My Great Great Grandfather became the licensee of The Royal Oak in 1912 and my family finally handed it over in the mid 1950’s, the thought of all that history being lost in the name of commercialism just seems criminal. By all means change its use, but please somehow incorporate the current facade and structure into the new venture – our little village has had so much history simply swept away to progress, so sad.

  6. H.E Osborne
    H.E Osborne says:

    Have just reviewed the plans at the United Reform Church in East Wittering and feel the design of the unit is totally unacceptable for the village. It looks huge and so modern, we are NOT Chichester we are East Wittering. Also if your lorrys are planning to stop in the lay-by outside for offloading they will then have to drive through the village as they will be unable to turnaround. Having seen the size of many of your delivery vehicles how exactly will that impact our little parade, and how will they cope getting out of the junction to the west of the village by the health centre?

    • Knowitall
      Knowitall says:

      Artics can turn in a remarkably small space. I suspect that if the lorries arrive from the east as at present then they will be able to U turn out from the new layby back east along Stocks Lane as they do at present. Tell us that is so, Andreea, and put some worries to rest.

      • Andreea
        Andreea says:

        Thank you for the suggestion…obviously the Highways dept will look at the delivery situation and make recommendations.

  7. Go
    Go says:

    We don’t need ‘another’ supermarket in the village…there is enough with Tesco and the existing co op. what people may not realise is that with all these ‘new’ ventures etc we are building up an infra structure that house builders will jump on when they submit plans to build excessive new houses on small amounts of land. This will totally obliterate the village character …..too many people putting profits before anything else ..!!

    • Andreea
      Andreea says:

      Just to clarify….it is not an additional supermarket. The plan envisages a larger store that will hopefully encourage people to stay shopping in the village rather than go to the superstores in Chichester. With regard to profit we distribute profit back to our member customers and to the community….through this our current store in E Wittering has given around £180,000 pounds to good causes (chosen by local people) in the Wittering area over the past 8 years.

  8. Stuart
    Stuart says:

    I do believe the co-op has enough room to go upstairs in their current location and if the co-op think that destroying a local land mark for the summer trade will please us village people then think again. we will fight this to the end and if by any chance the co-op get this ugly building then make sure you can cope with the residents staying away from your store. i suppose next your going to move the bus stop out side the building to aid the older people to get to your new fancy store, because as it stands they get off the bus and in to the shop. Once again big businesses think they can just flash the cash and we will all agree. Well sorry co-op but you will have a big fight on your hands. by the time this weeks over we will have a committee to fight your plans to the end. Maybe you should have thought about it and asked the public before you invested. all our small shops will suffer for your greed. I was told last thursday you need more parking, well all the parking in the village is free for 2 hours and if your staff parked in marine drive like they should or even walk then maybe some spaces would be free for us. also 6 months summer trade dont warrent a new store, its not that busy in the winter. Supermarkets all deliver to my door which is how we shop, your just a stop and go for bits and peices. I agree with the comment above as well about the lorries going through the village, what a great idea that was make sure you give the planner a fat cigar for that i wonder how long it take before a child gets hit. CO-OP PLEASE REMEMBER THIS IS A VILLAGE WE DONT WANT A SUPERMARKET HERE. WE LIKE GOING TO CHICHESTER TO SHOP. HAPPIER STAFF….

    • Andreea
      Andreea says:

      In response to Mr Campbell’s comments….Mr Campbell says that he shops in Chichester and that the large superstores deliver. One of the reasons we want to move our current business to a larger store is to provide a better shopping environment that will encourage people to spend their money in E Wittering rather than spend it elsewhere….we don’t provide all of the products that people in E Wittering need…the other excellent local retailers do that. Therefore if people do the bulk of their shopping at the Co-op rather than leaving town they will use local E Wittering retailers for their other purchases. There is no doubt that retailers in villages across the country are suffering because less people are shopping locally, preferring to get everything in one hit at a superstore.

      • Stuart
        Stuart says:

        Build a big store by all means but out side of the village, not right at the front and taking down a part of this villages history. the Royal Oak is one of the oldest building here and needs to be looked after not squashed. no matter how you all butter this up, it is upsetting everyone i have spoken to and the local shop keepers dont want it either. invest in the building you have and go up, lots of space there.

        • Knowitall
          Knowitall says:

          Whilst I can see that the Royal Oak is a historic element of the village, commercially it is dead in water, like many another pub these days. If someone could step in and finance an alternative usage (over to you, Stuart) then great. But where is this hypothetical saviour? In their absence, commercial realism will win the day.

          • Stuart
            Stuart says:

            It was only Enterprise Inns that have killed the pub trade, greedy shareholders. this is the only pub left with a family garden and Knowitall wants to crush it. must be someone who dont live in the area. or if you do dont have a family to entertain.

  9. john harrington
    john harrington says:

    We can only hope the planning permission is forthcoming, The Southern Co-op is after a local buisness owned and managered by its customer menmbers, any profits stay in the community either as grants to local organisations or as ‘divi’ to the members who live in wittering.

  10. lucy
    lucy says:

    Im amazed the co-op keep saying that they need more space you have it upstairs in the current one use it!, parking got it out the back 2hours free and the other excuse is the “Summer trade” please we have 6 weeks of the summer hoilday and last year was much quietier for trader’s as people do not have the money to hoilday down here like they used to and whenever the hoildaymakers come down they see Tesco’s and they use it where are the biggest queues Tesco’s. As a local villager we are aware every year milk and bread get low in July and August and we all deal with it and it never is a issue you are not building this new co-op for us locals you said at the meeting you want to bring people in to the village and advertise for the hoilday maker’s your words not mine!. What part do you lot not understand we are ALL happy to leave the village thats what we like to do and go to TOWN to shop and come back to our VILLAGE and shop locally in the smaller shops where we can, so If you think your doing us a favour by building us a bigger shop so we dont have to leave dont bother, and as for you who keeps writing comments “knowitall” take it you work at the co-op but have to hide behind a name.

  11. Hannah Bird
    Hannah Bird says:

    As a local person I must say that I feel really sad about what the co op are planning. I absolutely will be objecting to the council when they apply for planning permission. The building they are proposing is extremely ugly and not at all in keeping with the local architecture. It is also completely unnecessary to build another store when the existing one is adequate (although poorly managed). As a side note, what a waste of money to recurbish the old store when they are now planning a new one! I will be returning my membership card to the store as they obviously couldnt care less about maximising my share of the profits!

Comments are closed.