Supermarket is ‘willing to talk’

OPENING hours of the proposed Morrisons store in Aldwick could be changed, the company’s representatives told councillors.

Two employees of the retailers met a group of members of parish, district and county councils to discuss their concerns about the convenience outlet.

David Bevan, who works in acquisitions for Morrisons, said the company was willing to talk about the licensing hours it had sought of 6am-midnight daily.

Aldwick Parish Council assistant clerk Mary Halpin said: “He said he was open to discussion on the hours and there was the option of being flexible about them.”

The application for a premises licence for the retail outlet is with Arun District Council. The deadline for comments has been extended to August 5, from July 15, because of an initial lack of information at the site.

The prospect of alcohol being sold in the M local shop in the former Ship Inn, in Aldwick Street, has alarmed councillors as well as residents who live nearby.

They are concerned about the prospect of anti-social behaviour being sparked by the availability of alcohol late into the night.

Morrisons offered to meet councillors in private to discuss the matter. The 70-minute session took place recently. There were 13 councillors present as well as Mr Bevan and property communications manager Sarah Atta from Morrisons.

Ms Halpin said: “There was a feeling from the councillors that dialogue had been opened between Morrisons and the parish council.

“Mr Bevan said they would send along the store manager to meet the council to discuss any issues. But there are worries about Morrisons changing the nature of the area. There’s a feeling the village community feeling will be lost.

“There won’t be a pub in the area and, as well as Tudor News, businesses in Rose Green could be affected by the new store.”

Mr Bevan told the meeting 20 jobs would be created by the M store, said Ms Halpin. He believed the full-time equivalent would be about ten. The store is set to open by the end of the year.

Difficulties in getting into and out of the premises were also raised by councillors.

There is no pavement in front of the building.

Mr Bevan said the store would receive two deliveries a day. A system of cones would be used to enable the lorries to get to the premises safely.

“He said the store would not generate much extra traffic in the road because most people stopped at those stores when they were passing,” said Ms Halpin. “They did not make special journeys as they would to a supermarket.”

He also believed fears about the lack of pavement outside the building were unfounded, saying pedestrians were used to the situation and would cross the road accordingly.

Morrisons is able to convert The Ship without planning approval because planning law classes the two uses as the same.