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Sainsbury's asked to build Staplehurst store - or sell the land

Villagers are becoming increasingly angry at Sainsbury's for failing to build a supermarket six years after being given planning permission.

The retailer gained planning permission for a store in Station Approach in Staplehurst way back in March 2013.

More than six years later, the site is still surrounded by hoardings and the store is unbuilt.

An artist's impression of what the village was promised
An artist's impression of what the village was promised

The company also bought the former Texaco service station in the High Street nearby, saying it would build a new petrol station to support the store.

That too remains a faded dream, and the shabby hoardings that surround it have become an eyesore.

Staplehurst ward Cllr Louise Brice (Con) said: "We are worried that the sites are just being land-banked.

"A recent discussion I had with Sainsbury's did not fill me with confidence that they intend to start development any time soon."

The proposed site for Sainsbury's in Staplehurst
The proposed site for Sainsbury's in Staplehurst

Cllr Brice said: "If they are really not planning to develop the site, the village would like to see it released so that something else could be done, in line with the Local and Neighbourhood Plans for the area."

With no large supermarket in the village, residents face a journey either to Cranbrook or Maidstone, to carry out their weekly shop.

As part of its original planning permission, Sainsbury's was required to instal a new mini roundabout on Station Road, plus pedestrian crossings there and in Marden Road. None of that has happened.

Ironically, at the time that Sainsbury's was granted planning permission, Tesco was also looking to build a store in the village - at the other end of Station Approach, but Tesco's permission was rejected.

Cllr Louise Brice
Cllr Louise Brice

Since then Staplehurst has been declared a "rural service centre" and has an expanding population.

Sainsbury's told KentOnline this week: “We appreciate there is a lot of support for a new store in Staplehurst and are currently reviewing our options.

"We will update the community as soon as we’re able to do so.”

The statement is almost word for word what the company said three years ago.

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