The committee voted against planning officers’ recommendations to refuse the 30,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s store at Discovery Park and instead approved both.
This means they will now be sent to the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, for consideration.
What the new Waitrose in Sandwich would look like
If he decides to take no action - both supermarkets could be built.
The main reason planning officers gave for recommending the Sainsbury’s at Discovery Park for refusal was it’s out of town location, and the belief that it would not add any footfall to the town centre. They said it would also take from existing trade.
Andrew Jackson, property consultant for GL Hearn, said: “It will have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of Sandwich.
“It will affect trading of some of the retailers who may be trading on thin margins and could lead to store closures. If both stores were developed it would be significantly adverse.”
The report predicted that the 18,000 sq ft Waitrose store would take away 21% of existing profit and Discovery Park would take away 44%, with the two combined withdrawing 55% of trade from the town centre and existing supermarket Co-op.
Councillors disagreed that the Sainsbury’s would affect the town to that extent, believing that it could sustain itself with the amount of employees and businesses on-site.
Discovery Park application for Sainsbury's approved
Cllr Trevor Bond said: “Discovery Park has everything going for it. To refuse this application would be sending out the wrong signal for its future.”
Managing director Paul Barber has also agreed to supply funding for the town centre and bus service links - a condition of the application’s approval.
Cllr Bill Gardner claimed the Waitrose development could be “road chaos.”
Conditions include pedestrian access and parking management. This will come back before the committee at a later date.
Speaking on the Waitrose application and the doctor's surgery, Cllr Bernard Butcher said: “The surgery is most important to Sandwich, it’s a life saving application we really can not ignore this when it’s going to affect the health of our local community.”
But Cllr Gardner called the surgery a “bribe” and said one of the conditions of approval was that the surgery must be built before the supermarket opens for trade.
The Waitrose store will include 170 car parking spaces, The Butchery doctor’s surgery and pharmacy.
Sainsbury’s at Discovery Park will include 344 car parking spaces and a petrol station.