Blog: Burpham Sainsburys planning application - what planning precedent could it set?

October 14, 2020 9:22 AM

Burpham Sainsburys Loading Bay ApplicationIt has come to my attention this week that Sainbury's have submitted an application to build a new loading bay at their Burpham store, partially on the existing woodland area, in order to expand their home delivery service. On reading the application I am concerned by a number of aspects of the application.

Firstly, the area Sainsbury's are proposing to build on is an area designated as protected green space in the Burpham Neighbourhood Plan of 2016. In theory, this kind of designation should provide protection similar to that provided to greenbelt, and rightly so. Green spaces are crucial to our communities in terms of the habitats they provide for animals, birds and plant life, and to our health and well being as residents. Should approval be given by Guildford Borough Council what precedent does that set for the future for areas with the same designation? Would approval mean that other local green spaces are unwittingly put at risk? Our planet is in a state of environmental crisis and we need to be so mindful of this when planning applications are being considered.

Secondly, the impact the proposed loading bay will have on neighbouring residents. In the reports that accompany the application, it is noted that the overnight noise is already up to 80 decibels. (To give this some context this is the equivalent of a noisy restaurant or powered lawn mower, and it's worth noting that sounds over 85 decibels are potentially harmful.) This noise level would almost inevitably rise if the proposal went ahead and while Sainsbury's say that they will ensure that soundproofing is installed to prevent it escalating further I can't help but feel that this will bring little comfort to neighbouring residents who may already experience problems with that noise.

There is, of course, a balance to be had here, the additional jobs for local people and increased home delivery capacity are both positives especially at this time when employment uncertainty and the desire for home grocery deliveries is increasing. However, it seems to me that Sainsbury's could and should pursue an alternative approach by looking at using some of their existing car park for the expansion, preferably on the Sutherland Memorial Park side of the Sainsburys site. Doing so would be far better for the environment and kinder to their closest neighbours who would be less impacted by increases in overnight noise.

You can find out more information about the application on the Guildford Borough Council website using this link:
Should you wish to make a comment on the application you can do so until 5pm today (Wednesday 14th October 2020).