Thursday, 3 November 2011

Knowle Waitrose public meeting tonight and tomorrow

TWO public meetings on a Waitrose plan for Knowle will be held tonight and tomorrow (Thursday / Friday).

Click the headline or link below to read the rest of this story.

The Knowle Society will hold the meetings at Knowle Village Hall.

The plan would build a store on the site of a former bowling green by The Red Lion car park off St John’s Close.

This would demolish five bungalows fronting St John’s Close and re-provide them nearby.

Tonight’s meeting will be held from 7pm to 9pm where members of the society’s planning committee will answer questions.

Tomorrow’s event will be attended by Philip Pearce, a director at Kimberley Developments, the firm behind the plan.

Scheme architect Dean Guy and a Waitrose representative will also attend. Written comments are welcomed at both meetings.

Developers last year submitted a planning application to put the store on the site of the village hall, which would have been provided on the bowling green.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council will make a final decision on the scheme.

The new plan would create a 19,900sqft store compared to 26,250sqft before, a reduction of 24 per cent.

The sales area would be reduced from 15,000sqft to 12,500sqft, a reduction of ten per cent.

There would be 257 car parking spaces compared to 180 proposed before.

The five neighbouring bungalows, closest to Station Road, would be kept instead of being re-located as originally proposed.

The firm originally proposed two daily deliveries via the M42 and High Street and right into St John’s Close by Loch Fyne.

The new plan proposes two articulated lorries a day via junction 15 of the M40 via the Warwick Road and Station Road.

The lorries would enter via the service entrance to the left of Wine Rack on Station Road.

Two further sites would create an extra 38 spaces than proposed last year.

This would include 25 next to the 22-space Lodge Croft car park, off Lodge Road, near the junction with Station Road.

The land is currently occupied by garages, shrubs and trees and is owned by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.

Kimberley Developments has also applied to create 15 parking spaces on the verge where Lodge Road leads into St John’s Close.

A further eight would be provided on St John’s Close, after the right turn before the turn off for Tesco.

Ten vehicles can currently park on the road.

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  1. Congratulations to Knowle Society for organising a public meeting. We need more oppportunities to meet, as a community, to be informed and to feel part of a democratic local process.

    Sadly, in Dorridge, we are not being given that opportunity to discuss Sainsburys' proposals, which also impact on Knowle residents, of course.

    Well done Knowle.

  2. Chris, as you know we've thought long and hard about this. There are a few issues with public meetings (and some of this was informed by seeing what went on at the original Waitrose public meeting).

    The problem is with the public meetings is that they inevitably become a whine-fest, which is great for people ensuring that they have support for their particular personal viewpoints, but it is extremely difficult to get a balanced viewpoint and I don't think people necessarily become better informed.

    Originally, my view was that the Sainsbury's presentations in January were sensibly presented and attendees sounded like they were quite capable of forming their own opinions and expressing them - to build a public meeting after that would have been duplication and risked misleading people by putting a layer of interpretation on.

    We were originally expecting this to go to planning in May or June and at that time there didn't seem a lot of point, the plans seemed fresh in my mind and the displays in Forest Court and on the Internet were there to refresh the public's views.

    The other issue is that we have no wish to oppose DROVS in their campaign. We hold a different viewpoint as a committee, but understand the reasons why DROVS hold the views they do. On the other hand, we would not hold a public meeting simply as a mechanism for DROVS or Sainsbury's to have a platform - it they want a public meeting to galvanise support, then either group are quite able to do so themselves, so it is a bit irritating to have it suggested that we have let Dorridge down by failing to give them a platform, which has been the implication of a number of comments.

    I am now of a view that circumstances have changed: it has been too long since the January displays so people are forgetting what is really in the development and also they are being confused by the inaccurate information that is being bandied about in letters pages where people have picked up odd snippets.

    We have a committee meeting on Monday, and we will consider the issue again. However, if there is a public meeting, the intention will be to have a factual exposition of what the development is as a refresher, not to have a platform for campaigning for or against it. It would have to be of a form where anyone of any viewpoint could feel comfortable and would say that the presentation had been balanced. I'm not convinced we have the skill to do that and it is one of the reasons we have felt that we are better saying nothing than the wrong thing.

  3. so called consultations hosted by Sainsburys cannot be seen as public meetings. You are right everyone has a right to voice their opinions in an unbiased manner, however there is a lot of wrong information out there. many people I meet still think the proposal is to replace forest court building with another the same size. After all the publicity, people still not appreciate the scale of these plans, only a public meeting would address this - however I appreciate that you've got to then encourage people to attend. tehre's a lot of apathy!
    my feeling is DDRA has left it too late, well done Knowle Society for putting their community before the wants of a supermarket!

  4. Woodchester Road Resident6 November 2011 at 17:28

    Anyone can organise a public meeting.
    I regret that there is now DDRA bashing as well as Sainsbury's bashing going on. There is not apathy, but a divided community and I do feel that a public meeting would only serve to accentuate the differences. People already know where they stand on the matter and having a public meeting to reiterate the arguments on both sides will do little to move things forward. We need the council to act now and come to a decision rather than procrastinating further.

  5. I belong to neither DDRA nor DROVS.

    I believe the current proposals are far to big for the site.

    I should love to have a supermarket in the village beit Sainsbury or Aldi BUT I want to be able to visit the doctors' without added stress.

    I am really weird ....I want an appropraite sized store. Given the constraints of the location that means something much smaller. As a previous writer has stated you can't fit a quart into a pint pot no matter how much you wish you could.

  6. At the Knowle Village Hall meeting on Friday (4/11/2011).
    Developer Philip Pearce made some interesting points
    Firstly he refused to say how many customer could be expected to use the store.
    The speculative figure is nearly 0.5 mmillion per year
    This worked out by dividing the expected turnover
    £10,380000 by the average spend per visit which is £22 (nearest £) based on 2008 figures(latest availible).

    Did Philip Pearce also say Waitrose are going to open a new store in the centre of Solihull? Would anybody at the meeting confirm this as Iwas not present.
    Did Philip Peirce say Sainsbury's were trying it on when refering to the Sainsbury planning application for Dorridge

  7. Sainsbury certainly are "trying it on" in Dorridge.

    Of more concern is that the council almost rubber stamped the first application.

    DDRA have taken no lead on this important issue and just hidden behind Ian Spencer.

    How is that possible given the constraints of the site that the council officers recommended approval.

    I don't want to believe that there was anything underhand but find it hard to come up with an altenative reason why the proposal almost got nodded through.

    Are there dark forces at work?

    Unhappy Knowle resident.

  8. Please - stop these conspiracy theories and accusations - Just embarrassing.
    If you're against make a valid point - the site at Dorridge will easily fit the Sainsbury's store and independent units
    Why are you on here anyway - this is supposed to be about Waitrose?!

  9. They're all in it together - the DDRA the SMBC the doctors, the Dorridge business owners, the residents who haven't signed up to the DROVS wonderwall (all 9,000 of them) and probably voldemort too!!! Can't you seee aaahhhhh!!!!

  10. Infamy, infamy...they've all got it infamy

  11. Personally, I am against the Waitrose plans. I would urge residents to place their views on the Council's Planning Department web page in respect of the 3 planning applications. Enter 2011 and then 1555, 1556 or 1557.