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Sainsbury's store in Bishop's Waltham opposed by Amanda Holden can be built
A SUPERMARKET giant can finally start building a controversial store in a Hampshire town.
The way now appears clear for Sainsbury’s to begin development of the store in Bishop’s Waltham, which was halted after objection was made to proposals to close a section of road.
A Government planning inspection has now ruled that shutting part of Station Road to traffic should be allowed following a one-day public inquiry in October.
Sainsbury’s said it was pleased at the decision and expects building work to begin this summer.
The scheme, on the Abbey Mill Business Site, Station Road, which will create 350 jobs, had split opinion in the Bishop’s Waltham community, but got planning permission back in 2011.
One vocal critic was Britain’s Got Talent star Amanda Holden, pictured right, who grew up in the town.
The Sainsbury’s-opposed Bishop’s Waltham Action group chairman Tony Kippenberger said that the guidelines of the inquiry were so tight that many of their concerns were not admissible.
“We’re not aware of anything else that would stop them.
“There’s a sense of resignation that it will now go ahead. Our attention turns to doing everything we can to sustain the high street.”
Former chairman Henry Fryer added: “My view is people in the village recognise that Sainsbury’s will now build a supermarket there and we will go along with that because the time for protest is past.
“Those who formed the group were concerned that Sainsbury’s coming would have a negative impact on independent shops.
“We must work hard to make sure that doesn’t happen and support the individual retailers.
He said he was not aware of any scope to make further objections or appeals.
“We have been drinking in the last chance saloon and we’re now going to head off to another bar.”
John Hayter, from Bishop’s Waltham, who objected to the measures and spoke at the inquiry, said he was disappointed by the decision but did not plan to pursue it further.
He added that the road would now be a cul-de-sac and difficult to turn around on.
Peter Watson, chairman of the Bishop’s Waltham Another View group, who supported the Sainsbury’s application, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that finally something’s going to happen.
“In our view common sense has prevailed.
“At the end of the day, what’s wrong with some healthy competition?”
He said it would also bring with it a new doctor’s surgery.