In September 2011 Sainsbury's submitted a formal planning application for a new store on the former Parker Knoll site in London Road. Residents set up the Stop Chippy’s Out Of Town Supermarket (SCOOTS) campaign.
Plans for a 55,000 sq ft out-of-town Sainsbury's were rejected by West Oxfordshire District Council in March 2012. Councillors on the planning committee heard concerns from SCOOTS about the impact on traffic and on the vitality of the town centre.
SCOOTS campaign concentrated on the adverse impact this would have on a traditional small Coteswold market town and we were able to rally considerable local support. The application failed - Sainsbury's announced that they will not be pursuing an appeal - because it contravened current planning policy.
Lessons learnt by SCOOTS:
1. Rallies / petitions / sit ins don't impress LAs
2. Attack applications on their town planning compliance with policy.
3. Scrupulously analyse and counter the techncial submissions of their consultants - we found lots of errors and poor methodology.
4. Get alongside local councillors their non technical ordinary people who rarely understand the key technical issues and they need hand holding.
5. Organise thoroughly and try not to get into fruitless battles with pro-campaigners, it wastes time and energy, concentrate on the key issues.
6. Set up a fighting fund and appoint a treasurer at the beginning.
7. Develop a good rapprt with all the local press and if possible national also. SCOOTS benefitted from a local PR professional/supporter who worked for the campaign tirelessly. Our 1st key action was to set up a website and email address.
8. Muster local support to email objection letters to local MP/councillors/parish cnclrs et al at every opportunity. Maintain a very active communications campaign.
9.Finally ignore the brick bats thrown by the applicants team - its part of the game - as I said concentrate on the key issues.