Thursday, 17 November 2011

Waitrose would make parking worse, Knowle Society warns

A REVISED Waitrose plan for Knowle does not propose enough extra parking so “grid-lock would be inevitable for much of the day” The Knowle Society has warned.

Artists impression (new)

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No spaces would be available between 11am and 5pm in the week and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays, it said in a letter to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.

Shoppers at the development – proposed for a former bowling green by The Red Lion car park - would be up to 38 spaces short at peak times, it said.

Society planning committee chairman Leighton Jones said: “If this proposal was allowed to go through it could only be on the basis that it made a positive contribution to easing the current parking problems. It doesn’t do this but actually makes them worse.”

The society said the plan proposes 305 spaces to the west of the High Street compared to 264 now.

But extra spaces do not take into account the loss of on street parking in the St Johns Close area and the pub car park, Mr Jones said.

He said: “Even on the information provided by the developers there would be insufficient additional parking to reasonably accommodate current demands, let alone the additional demand from shoppers to the proposed store.”

And he said plans for 190 new homes to the back of Arden and Knowle Primary schools would add to pressure.

Waitrose’s own figures say the existing car parks are frequently full, Mr Jones said.

Waitrose has proposed 25 more spaces next to the 22-space Lodge Croft car park, off Lodge Road, near the junction with Station Road, currently garages and unused ground.

A further 15 parking spaces would be cut into the verge where Lodge Road leads into St John’s Close.

Yet Mr Jones said: “Even with full use of Lodge Croft and the additional road edge parking the system will be in deficit or so close that grid-lock would be inevitable for much of the day.”

He said the letter is a result of two society public meetings on the plans earlier this month at Knowle Village Hall, attended by about 300 residents.

Mr Jones said residents said parking was the “most concerning aspect” of the plans.

Planning applications were submitted to the council last year for a store on the site of the village hall, which would have been re-provided on the bowling green.

These were withdrawn before the council made a decision. A decision on the new plan is expected early next year.

It comes as most people, 15 out of 28, who left supporting or opposing comments on the council’s website backed the store’s planning application.

One said: “The village is looking tired and in need of a facelift this development will brighten up the area and give some soul back to a much loved village.”

Robert Ericsson gave his “whole hearted approval”, saying: “It will bring life back to Knowle High Street.”

He said: “It will give choice and the chance to get my full weeks shopping from one
place rather than have to travel outside the borough.”

Another said: “We must realise that Knowle is no longer a small village. With four banks and over 20 restaurants/fast food outlets and its population it is a thriving small town.”

A supporter said: “The issue of car parking and traffic circulation is probably insoluble and there is little evidence to suggest that this proposal is going to make the situation worse.”

But opponents warned of the impact on traffic and other shops.

One says: “The extra footfall to Knowle from outside the area that a Waitrose store would bring would only add to the already heavy traffic.

“The car parks, like now, would be full and there would be the same old parking overflow onto roads around the village centre.”

“And after Waitrose? More big name stores? More new-build housing, because of the facilities? A Knowle High Street by-pass cutting through residential areas?”

One said: “Congestion in Knowle is far to great at the moment and this supermarket would only make it worse.”

A St Johns Close resident says workers leave their car outside their home and the plan would make this “even worse”.

Stephen Cartmell says: “I would be delighted to have a Waitrose near to Knowle, but cannot understand why you feel the need to spoil the village and cause us even more parking problems than we already have!”

Another comment warns the plan will “take away trade from the existing independent stores” and could lead to closures.

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  1. As I am not a Knowle resident I will not comment on how this should go but I can assure you there will be many from Dorridge that will support Waitrose should it go ahead. It is probably the supermarket of choice for many. It may be that many of us already shop in Knowle so am not sure how it will affect parking.

    Hope that whatever happens is what the majority of you want. Good luck.

  2. I live in Dorridge, nr the infant/junior school. Given that I couldn't carry my weekly shopping home from the proposed Sainsbury's, once I'd jumped in the car I'd be more likely to go to Waitrose, for the novelty factor.

    Make of that what you will - but as here, parking looks a bit light in the proposed scheme.

  3. Bob & Susan James18 November 2011 at 16:50

    The above two comments exactly demonstrate the problems with the waitrose plans - the store will attract shoppers from outside Knowle into an area that will have inadequate car parking provision. The result will probably be drivers cheesed off at finding nowhere near the store to park, leaving and vowing never to return; what will that do for Knowle's retail future?
    We said it before and we will reiterate it - many people have put on WAITROSE tinted glasses, seeing only a store with a good reputation but ignoring all the other factors that residents in Knowle will have to put up with.

  4. It is not just the parking issue. Knowle does not need another supermarket. There are plenty already in Solihull and I understand that there are plans to build a much bigger Waitrose store in Solihull itself so that should satisfy Waitrose fans. Hopefully there would be no traffic and parking problems with that plan. This whole battle between supermarkets to build more and more outlets is, I feel, just going too far.

  5. 9.50 I agree with you entirely.

  6. makes me smile that all these lovely pictures of Sainsburys and Waitrose have about 2 cars in them. that isn't reflective of Knowle and Dorridge now so it certainly won't be in the future!!
    it would be funny were it not so tragic!

  7. 14.20 couldn't agree more. Artistic license??!!

  8. An extra 40 cars minimum an hour equals over 3000
    cars a week.

    No thank you Mr Pearce (Waitrose's DEveloper)
    We live here you don't


  9. Dear Sir
    Knowle residents need to stark answer a stark question. Do they want a village centre or Shopping Centre?
    Knowle is classified as secondary shopping centre. These are composed normally mainly of independent small retailers. The greengrocer, New Covent Garden, the quality butchers and others have expressed concern about their fate if this alien large development goes ahead.
    Developer Kimberley proposal dispute this
    However two credible reports that support the view that a large super market will lead after a short time to the closure of independent traders. Evidence cited in ‘High Street Britain 2016’ published by Parliament found in affluent areas like Knowle attracted spend away from small shops that lead to their eventual demise.
    This is supported by in the report ‘The Role and Vitality of Secondary Shopping Centres’ published by the National Retail Planning Forum which concluded secondary shopping centres (e.g.Knowle) are much more diverse in their composition than primary retail areas (town centres e.g. Touchwood) and are heavily dependent on independent businesses.
    The only realistic conclusion that can be drawn is that this oversize Waitrose will gobble up the small shops in Knowle.
    There is also a rumour that Waitrose are going to establish a store in Solihull town centre.

    J K Wilson Solihull

  10. Dear Sir
    Why Kimberley/Waitrose still trying to cram a quart into a pint pot?
    But I like to shop at Waitrose I have used both Kenilworth and Hall Green. However once again it has got to be said as it was last year Right Place Wrong Plans.
    Why Kimberley/Waitrose still trying to cram a quart into a pint pot?
    The Waitrose Plans will to turn Knowle Village Centre into a shopping centre.
    There are many reasons to object firstly the fact that it is about 30% bigger than it needs to be by 2026. DTZ Solihull’s commercial consultants using all relevant information state Knowle/Dorridge area will require an extra 800 sq m net of floor space.
    Yet Kimberly/Waitrose is offering us 1,161 sq m of floor space with no attempt to provide supporting information as to justify their figures.
    It seems a store of 1,161 sq m of floor space is the smallest they do for area the size of Knowle.
    YetKimberley/ Waitrose stores vary in size from 650 sq m to over 5202 sq m.
    Therefore an additional store of 800sq m (DTZ compliant) would be very welcome.
    Then it would be a case of right place and right plans also with dedicated car parking.
    Yours Faithfully
    B .D. Jones Solihull

  11. 8.50 You are so right, I have seen it happen.
    I only wish some Dorridge residents could see it too why do they think Dorridge will be different.
    Good luck.