Phew! Sainsbury’s win 11th hour planning change at Whittlesey after threatening to pull out if October 7 deadline couldn’t be met

Developer Bruce Smith: final hurdle cleared to deliver Whittlesey site for Sainsbury's

Developer Bruce Smith: final hurdle cleared to deliver Whittlesey site for Sainsbury's - Credit: Archant

The longest, probably most complex, planning application in Fenland Council’s history concluded on Tuesday – with just hours to spare.

Sainsbury’s had set a deadline of Wednesday to win approval for the final details of their application for a supermarket in Eastrea Road, Whittlesey.

Had they not got the remaining permission they had threatened to pull out of the entire deal – which also includes a country park and business park.

Fenland Council approved the bulk of the scheme in July but Sainsbury’s complained of ‘onerous’ conditions and wanted changes.

Those changes, which include allowing home delivery vehicles to use the site through the night and highway modifications, were the subject of an amended application by the supermarket chain.

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Whittlesey Town Council supported the amendments and requested that “the application is dealt with via delegated powers or at the September planning committee due to contract time expiring on October 7”. The district council couldn’t meet the September deadline but did meet the October deadline – with a day to spare.

Developer Bruce Smith said: “It’s been a long, hard fought battle but we’re finally there.”

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He now hopes early talks with Sainsbury’s will provide an indication of possible time scales. The supermarket, like others, has been reviewing its new store opening proposals but has always insisted they remained committed to Whittlesey.

One fear of the store’s late amendment was the possibility of increased noise but a specially commissioned report found that “noise levels on site can remain within levels considered acceptable.”

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