Asda have put in a new planning application for their Rawreth Lane site – 07/00588/FUL. It is on the district council website here.
We have only just got details on it, but at first glance it seems they are just asking for a series of small changes:
“Alterations to Approved ASDA Store Building Comprising Covered Walkway to Car Parking Area, Provision of Smoking Shelter to Staff Parking Area, Provision of External Cash Machine Pod and Removal of one Car Parking Space, Provision of Draft Lobby to Store Entrance, Raise Height of Service Yard Wall From 1.8m to 3m, Revised Layout of Service Yard, Revised Location of Trees to Car Park, Extension of Entrance Canopy, Revised Elevations of Store to Show Location of Cash Office Transfer Unit, Provision of 2 No. First Floor Windows to Staff Restaurant and Training Room, Reduced Size of Curtain Walling Panels, Provision of Additional Fire Exit to North Elevation and Revised Position of Roof Plant.”
Having gone and seen the amended plans, I was expecting to have to write and object to several points, especially as I live directly opposite the site. However, I have to say that consideration of residents has gone into the plans – more plant is being placed on the roof, but all are being moved away from the housing development, and the service yard has been lowered so that there is a 3metre wall from the inside of the yard (will still be a standard 1.8m wall on the Priory Chase aspect). A cash machine is ideal, currently the nearest is at the train station.
I have to say that I was against the ASDA development, was concerned about it’s size and noise pollution, but now that the sides are pretty much up, it’s not as big as I thought it was when it was just the frame, and recent revisions to plan are taking note of its neighbours.
Bottom line to the ASDA store is that it has been built, it’s here to stay. If you live near it, you might as well use it. Otherwise you’ll be living with an inconvenience and not enjoying the benefit.
Thanks for the comments Corey.
By the way, if anyone else wants to see the plans, we have a spare set we can bring round.
Have read your comments re this latest application, I am surprised that you haven’t mentioned some other points.
The extra car parking spaces now requested (with removal of most of the trees that were planned for the car park) will bring extra traffic, extra customers etc. to the store.
The decrease now to 8 car parking spaces for ASDA’s 200 part time/full time staff. (At the residents meeting, ASDA personnel assured us that they wouldn’t want staff parking in their customer car park!).
There was always going to be an ATM at the store, now it is totally external, giving ASDA more sales area.
Later today I’ll cut & paste our letter we sent to RDC in response to this application but it is rather lengthy!
The revised plans do not show an increase in parking, in fact they are removing one parking space. Also there was only going to be a limited number of car parking spaces for employees as ASDA have a green policy and encourage car pooling, cycling etc. Trust me, if there was going to be issues with the employee area/service yard we would be the first on the case, as our house is the closest in the area to this part of the store.
Mocing the cash machine to the outside of the building, can only be a positive – it is after all making YOUR money available to you 24 hours without a drive to another part of town.
What does concern me, is the “private” discussions that are being held concerning the mixed use building that is supposed to be on the corner of Rawreth Lane and Priory Chase – why the secrecy?
At the moment, we are merely speculating on what traffic etc will be like in the future, we do not know for certain – and if people feel so strongly against ASDA I would urge them to vote with their feet, and continue going to stores that they are currently using – if people do that, then there will not be the additional traffic will there?
Sorry for delay in putting this on the web, our baby Granddaughter was born yesterday! I know this posting is very long but in view of all the history regarding the Park School Development we feel that the impact of any changes needs to be thoroughly examined.
Below are the salient points from our letter of objection to this latest planning application:-
• The provision of a staff smoking shelter & the use of one car parking space for security vehicles to deliver cash to the ATM will result in a 20% loss of staff car parking. The derisory number of staff car parking spaces previously provided now is ludicrously reduced further to only 8 car parking spaces for 200 part-time / full-time staff. We note this loss of car parking space to the ATM security delivery vehicle has not been highlighted in the planning application & therefore this reduction of 20% of car parking spaces has not been made aware to all Consultees. (ASDA have previously stated they will not want staff to park in the customer car park.)
• The proposal for an ATM point now remote from the building seems insignificant in itself, but we feel it is an arguable point that although shown on the original application drawings, no specific agreement was granted for an ATM. Discussions with the Local Planning Officer revealed the only concern to RDC was how this would look on the external view of the building – no thought seems to be given to the additional out of hours traffic this will generate in a residential area.
• The stated ‘Revised location of trees to car park’ is in fact a total removal of 8 out of 12 trees, i.e. 66% of the trees within the car parking area. This is unacceptable and not as originally agreed. Again this has not been made clear to Consultees.
This unacceptable change is only as a result of an increase in customer car parking provision from 216 to 225 spaces, an additional 4%. This change has not been brought to the attention of the Consultees.
Attention is drawn to the following two statements made in previous documentation regarding parking provision:-
1. From Former Park School Site Revised Traffic Assessment July 2005 By Capita Symonds
‘Restricting the level of car parking is intended to encourage use of alternative modes of travel to the private car, and in the case of retail development will constrain vehicle trips since the availability of car parking forms part of the store’s offer. If this is insufficient to accommodate demand and customers are unable to park they will either continue to shop elsewhere or return at a quieter time.’
2. From Report to Planning Services Committee 21st Feb 2006, Item 4.
‘It should be borne in mind that car parks associated with retail foodstores in themselves create a limiting factor on trade levels.’ And ‘whilst the total number of spaces is a little below standard this will place some limit on the use of the store.’
• This neighbourhood centre is part of a residential area & therefore the ATM & car park should not be available 24 hours a day. As per the Essex Police Architectural Liaison Officer’s comments within the planning application for Asda, (i.e. Report to Planning Services Committee 21st Feb 2006, Item 4) it was suggested that there should ‘be provision of a car park barrier gate to prevent the car park being used out of hours’
The proposed reduction in trees within the car parking area will allow further scope for the car park to be used by joy riders.
• Another point which the relocation of the ATM has brought to light is the revised internal arrangement to maximise the stores sales floor area coupled with the now external draught lobby and the decrease in the size / partial removal of customer toilets. This change in size of sales area has again not been made aware to Consultees.
• The planning consent for ASDA was, after two applications were both rejected by RDC, finally decided at appeal. In that appeal three factors formed the main discussion points, briefly these were:-
a) Unacceptable volumes of traffic.
b) Adverse impact on local centres.
c) Loss of amenity to local residents.
Examination of the latest application reveals that the proposed changes will cause detriment on all the above points.
a) Although not thought relevant enough to mention by planning officers, the increase in car parking will cause a directly proportionate increase in traffic volumes at peak time of approx. 4% (see quotes above).
b) The increase in customers, increase in car parking and the increase in sales floor area again not mentioned by planning officers will cause further detrimental impact on local centres.
c) The increase in customers and associated traffic, the loss of tree planting and the external ATM point will worsen the already seriously impaired amenity enjoyed by local residents.
To conclude, we feel the complete Park School Development has suffered from poor performance by Local and County Council Officers at all levels from the original outline application, ‘not generating more traffic than the original Park School site’, Councillors not being made aware by the Planning Officers at the time of the outline consent, of the potential size of a Supermarket being built for ‘the benefit of the local community’! Roads too narrow for recycling vehicle collection, etc. etc. To this latest application not providing sufficient detail for informed discussion. We fear other important changes may not have been brought to light and that a true picture has not been presented. Had a better presentation been made of the actual proposals on the Consultee notification letter, we feel there would be far more responses against the application. If allowed this application will further worsen the impact of the store on the community at large and therefore should be rejected.
Another example of why we should not trust our Planning department to work in the residents interests!
Our main issue is that things are not being made clear re this application.
Car parking spaces have been increased from 216 to 225 spaces. This increase is only noticed when comparing the two drawings & reading the report from the previous application etc. The Planning Officers have made no mention of it, etc. etc. etc.
The bit we wrote re the removal of trees should have read i.e. 66% of the trees ‘within the middle’ of the car parking area. Sorry if this caused any confusion. But it is this middle area which causes most concern re joy riders and visual impact.
Haven’t read on this page that anyone is against ASDA as such, it is the way the Planning Officers have dealt with the whole Park School Development. Although the ‘Green Plan’ of ASDA and how they will sell discount cycles to staff, that staff will use the buses, car share or walk will be believed when seen. So few car parking spaces for so many staff is laughable.
Lets hope they are not relying on the 1 every 90 min bus that goes past the site then
I totally understand your point concerning the joyriders – and I have not seen anywhere that barriers are being erected as per the Leisure Centre, except for the Service Yard area. Joy riders and rather loud youths have already been a problem (and are still a problem – keeping me awake to past midnight last night) – let’s hope that it will not be a necessity to have the police on speed dial.
On a plus side, I have been informed that the new manager for ASDA has rented a property in Priory Chase opposite the store. So with a bit of luck he will want some peace and quiet and be pro-active in keeping disturbance to a minimum.