VILLAGERS worried about proposals to almost triple the size of Waitrose in Storrington were alarmed to see workmen move onto the store car park last week.
But the supermarket giant quickly played down the move - offering reassurances that the work being carried out is ‘standard practice’.
One Rock Road resident contacted the County Times after seeing the team move in.
He was concerned workers for this ‘non-approved development’ were checking positions for piling, a type of deep foundation, for a new multi-storey car park, adding that the development seemed to be a ‘done deal’.
However Waitrose has yet to submit any formal planning applications.
A spokesperson for the store said: “The team are just carrying out some site investigations and surveys to check things like the type of soil, it is standard practice.
“This should not be interpreted that a future application will definitely be successful.”
The store, which is part of the John Lewis partnership, would like to almost treble the size of its floor space from 8,000 sq ft to 21,380 sq ft.
This will mean customers will be able to choose from a wider range of products, however, no decision has been made.
If the plans are approved it will also see a new two storey car park being built.
There will be approximately 100 spaces underground and 100 over ground, with the top level being about a metre higher off the ground.
“Although we hope to do so very soon, we have still not submitted our planning application so there is a long way to go,” said a Waitrose representative.
A spokesperson for Horsham District Council said: “Following a request from Waitrose, the council has agreed to grant a short term licence to enable its agents to carry out ground condition surveys within the car park.
“The survey work will allow Waitrose to assess the suitability of the site for any structures it might wish to construct.
“Planning permission is not required for such activities as they do not constitute development and the car park surface will be reinstated once the works have been completed.”
The work is expected to be completed by Thursday November 3.