Thursday, 8 March 2012

Council boss backs Knowle Waitrose

A COUNCIL boss has backed a Waitrose plan for Knowle, saying it would boost village trade.

Artists impression (new)



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The plan “pays sufficient regard to the character of Knowle when considered against the benefits” said Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s Gary Palmer.

Kimberley Developments wants to put a store on part of bowling green and neighbouring Red Lion car park off St John’s Close.

Councillors have yet to take a final decision on the scheme. Click here for previous stories.

He said: “The impacts must be balanced against the scheme benefits, including economic issues and the continued vitality and appeal of the local centre.”

Mr Palmer, head of design and development, said the store design and car parking areas had improved from a previous plan, to put the store on the site of the village hall.

This would have seen a new village hall built on the bowling green.

Mr Palmer added: “Connectivity with the High Street through pedestrian priority is improved.”

Yet he said the plan was “whilst not automatically harmful, visual impacts would occur”.

And he said a submission by the developer that the plan would not affect the village’s conservation area – which provides extra checks against development – was “inaccurate”.

Mr Palmer said in a report: “The site of the store is within the designated boundary and the construction of a large new building and alteration of the car parks clearly would have some impact.”

He said the council’s planning committee – which will make a final decision – will have to balance the impact against the “Government agenda for growth”.

Mr Palmer said: “It is critical to balance visual impacts against economic, visual and social benefits that it might generate.”

There is “substantial evidence” that such plans can benefit existing traders by preventing residents from shopping elsewhere.

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25 comments:

  1. The Government's "agenda for growth" should be concentrated on more deprived areas. Knowle is already self-sufficient and thriving. The balance that Mr Palmer talks of is fine as it is.

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  2. By the way, The Silhillian clock needs adjusting as I did not stay up all night to write the above (04:52 a.m.). It is presently 11:54 a.m.

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  3. I live in Knowle, and I don't have a strong view on Waitrose either way. I am a take it or leave it man.

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  4. i live in knowle, and i have backed the plan right from the start.it would bring jobs to the area, plus staff at john lewis who also is part of waitrose give excellent customer service. of which tesco staff are not very customer friendly.i wish the council would hurry up with the verdict

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  5. Knowle is not desparate for job creation whereas there are many other less affluent parts of the West Midlands that are crying out for jobs. I find the staff at Tesco as friendly as the staff at any other supermarket.

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  6. Why will a Waitrose store bring jobs to the area? Unless everyone buys more, it simply means some of the Tesco jobs may vanish. The "extra" jobs are simply displaced jobs from Tesco or elsewhere rater than new. One way or another, a decision should be taken and soon.

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  7. Surely local residents would not wish Knowle to become like many places of similar size in the South - over developed, cluttered, congested and characterless.

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  8. much like Dorridge is likely to become under the giant Sainsburys!!

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  9. When a Waitrose comes into any town it has a positive benefit to the local area. We are not talking here about a giant Tesco or Asda or Aldi but a medium size high quality grocery store. It will attract shoppers from Solihull and the surrounding affluent area. if you were getting a Tesco or Kwiksave or Aldi I could understand the outcry but really a new Waitrose will lift the dreary village centre. Hopefully they will also have a coffee shop. Just ask the people of nearby Kenilworth whether their town is better or worse since Waitrose opened and they will tell you for sure that it's helped revitalise Talisman Square there. If i was going on location, location, location with Phil & Kirsty one of my priorities would be :within 10 minutes drive of a Waitrose" - it will also lift house prices in Knowle. ....and No I don't work for John Lewsi Group I'm just a very very happy Waitrose customer.

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  10. Will you be happy sitting in queues of traffic and competing for a parking space?

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  11. What nonsense from Anon at 12.08. S/he must have have posted this after too many magic mushrooms. Any incoming customers will gridlock Knowle and the coffee shop better be huge to copy with all the shoppers who cannot get out! Thought this type of snobbery-its Waitrose it must be good-went out with the dodos. Why not ask Phil to relocate you closer to an existing Waitrose rather than wreck Knowle!

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  12. I think we all have to accept that the days our grandparents enjoyed of walking along to the local village baker, butcher and greengrocer, or general hardware store, where the friendly locally born shopkeeper wore a brown apron and all your vegetables were loose and given to you in a paper bag are over. People drive now to B&Q, Homebase, Sainsburys, Tesco etc. It's just the way the world is - we no longer make the motor cars we made in Coventry and at Longbridge. "If" we want the space to be used properly then the best national retailer we could hope for is Waitrose. Turn them down and you might end up with Aldi or some other "chav" store that just sells cheap cigs and booze to get customers in. Is that what you want for Knowle? Why is so much thinking so backwards on here- are all the objectors over 60 and wanting to relive the days of 'Open All Hours" with Ronnie Barker for a shop keeper? Just be glad this is Waitrose. I used to live in Barnes a "village" in SW London. Sainsbury's wanted to open in the village = mass objections "we won't use it" "Justin if you build it we won't come" etc but after opening it's mobbed every day queues at the cashier because it's a lot cheaper to but milk and bread there than at a 'local' shop. The new Sainsbury's in Barnes replaced a run down old 2nd had car showroom - of these 2 options - what do you think is the better use of a community space ?

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  13. Cluttering Solihull with more and more supermarkets is not my idea of progress and I do not think what they do in the built-up South is a good model for what they should do here. Knowle has the right balance of retail outlets already and the new Sainsbury will only be a short distance away in Dorridge.

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  14. This is good for the area can,t wait !

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  15. Like a little boy who wants one more new toy to clutter up his bedroom!

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  16. I look forward to the Waitrose scheme which should do something to tidy up the dreadful Village Hall and surrounding car parking. If it closes Tescos then so much the better. Some of the people who complain about lack of parking need to consider their travel arrangements and perhaps even try walking. The Knowle Society need to be part of beneficial changes to the Village and not take the 'anti' view all the time.
    Apart from the new toilets by the bus stop I cannot remember them supporting anything recently.

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  17. 04:25, the best use of a community space surely cannot be another supermarket. How's about memorial gardens or such like with a bit of peace and tranquility. Knowle doesn't have a decent village green. Villages don't have to be turned into towns.

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  18. Anon @17.56 is an idiot! Part of the argument for such a large supermarket is to enable a week's shop in one go, which apparently you
    cannot do at Tesco. So how does one walk with an entire week's shopping? Ignoring of course the need to use one hand for the obligatory umbrella to ward off the rain. Do buy a brain cell or two before making such silly comments

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    1. Touchy, and typical. If people wish to do a large shop at Waitrose, they can drive, but the point is that many people could take the pressure off the car parks even now by thinking about walking/public transport, thats what sustainability is all about. I personally will not be doing a weekly shop at Waitrose but I look forward to better choice/quality and the other changes it will bring.

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    2. Don,t you mean Anon @17.26 .Get it right dumbo before you call someone an idiot again.

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  19. I haven't noticed any better choice or quality at any Waitrose I have ever been to compared with Sainsbury, Tesco or Morrison's - just higher prices.

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  20. The developers state that they are confident that the parking provisions that remain unchanged within their amended plans (July 2012) will work. I fear that this will not be the case. In recent summer holiday weeks the volume of traffic ingressing the current car parks has been atrocious; the worst I can recall in 30 years as a resident. As a pedestrian shopper, I have observed queues of cars at each of the already full car parks. A new supermarket will only attract more traffic from further afield and the result will be chaos. The Knowle shopping area is already in good health and with Sainsbury's at Dorridge, Tesco at Knowle and numerous other supermarkets within a 3 to 5 mile radius easily accessible by car or public transport there is no desperate need for yet another supermarket in Knowle. We should not let traffic throttle the character of Knowle. Let the Council know of your views by 31/08/2012 via this link:
    http://www.solihull.gov.uk/planning/dc/ViewApp.asp
    Insert 2011 and 1557 and then press Show. A page will come up showing the latest plan amendments and at the foot of the page is your opportunity to comment.

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  21. Do people really believe that Waitrose would develop a supermarket with insufficient parking provision? Surely that would be suicidal?
    I welcome the new development: it will bring new life and vitality to the centre of Knowle as well as tidying up all of the existing 'pocket car park' provision. I really look forward to driving up St Johns Close without meeting traffic coming in the middle of the road the other way.
    Please support this provision by letting the Council know of your approval by 31/08/2012 via this link: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/planning/dc/ViewApp.asp. Please insert 2011 against the year and 1557 and then press Show.
    Let’s get this development built and support the future of Knowle rather than allowing all existing shopping to relocate to the Dorridge Sainsbury leaving Knowle as a dead village. Waitrose is the only shop respected enough to stop the trend to Dorridge and we are lucky to be offered one.

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  22. I am Knowle born and bred and viewed the proposed plans at the VH the other weekend. A brick wall over 2m high backing on to the APD that are not being bulldozed appears visually daunting. The last thing Knowle needs is a hike in house prices that another commentator (presumably someone overwhelmed by the achievement of living in a B93 postcode) gleefully hopes will follow a Waitrose arrival. Local people shop locally and now they are faced with politely excusing themselves as they ease past the Yummies in their 4x4s clogging up the centre of the village as they (the locals)try to get to Curtis's or Eric Lyon's. I live in Essex now and Billericay (pop 40,000) has a nice Waitrose at the back of the High St . Knowle has a pop of 10,000. As the American's would say - DO THE MATH!!

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