Monday, 27 August 2012

Knowle Society holds Waitrose exhibition

MORE than 500 people attended an exhibition in Knowle on Saturday on revised plans for a Waitrose store in the village.

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The Knowle Society held the exhibition in Knowle Village Hall to answer questions about the Kimberley Developments plan.

Plans were submitted last October to 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.

In 2010, the firm submitted a planning application to put the store on the site of the village hall, which would have been provided on the bowling green, but was withdrawn.

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

The society said: “The exhibition was extremely well attended - well over 500 people - with members of the society's planning committee being fully engaged in answering questions from members of the society and the general public.

“The exhibition included a significant list of amendments to the plans which have been 'won' by the Society being in discussion with the developers.

“Whether or not the proposal is approved, the Society aimed to get the best possible outcome for the community.”

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  1. If they get the go-ahead, let us hope that they are more efficient than Sainsbury's in getting the project off the ground.

  2. Agree - hurry up sainsbury's; why the delay,does anyone know???

  3. Bob & Susan James29 August 2012 at 12:03

    We oppose this proposal for the following reasons:

    1) The store size of 1,100+ m2 is too large for the Village, as evidenced by the "Solihull Retail, Leisure & Offices Study" of November 2009. This forecast that 800 m2 extra retail space will be needed by 2026. This same Study pointed out that there was unlikely to be sufficient car parking space in the centre of Knowle, even in forecasting this moderate increase;
    2) The small increase in parking provision (23 by our counting, which takes into account the loss of 22 Red Lion spaces) is woefully inadequate to cope with increased traffic demands, more particularly in poor weather when people are less likely to walk. The traffic studies that have been undertaken show that at peak times between mid-morning and late afternoon the current car parks are at capacity. This indicates that car visitors to Knowle are limited by the available car parking. If there were more spaces available now then the true current parking needs would be established. Adding an overlarge Waitrose and only 20-odd extra spaces can only make matters worse. If the scheme goes ahead then when Waitrose opens there will be many people driving in from the surrounding area, attracted by the supposed quality of the brand - they will be faced with a lack of parking and the disruption caused by end-on parking: this will result in disappointment and many will not bother to return. This can only harm Knowle in the short and long term;
    3) Traffic flows will be disrupted around St. John's Close, especially where there is end-on parking with cars reversing into traffic flows and potentially leading to safety concerns;
    4) Existing small retailers (butchers, bakers, greengrocers, etc.) trade will be diminished, which if it lead to their closure would be a great loss to the individuality and attraction of Knowle;
    5) Two houses will be lost, due to the relocation of five bungalows and some green areas will be lost to increased car parking.

    The developer assures us that everything will work out well, but that's an easy comment to make and if the development were to go ahead they will not be around for the aftermath. We believe there should be some penalty clause imposed on the developer/store owner to compensate Knowle if there proves to be inadequate parking, traffic chaos and closure of local shops.

  4. And hurry up Waitrose! What a great scheme! I hope that we can all get together and support the new facility. And congratulations to the Knowle Society for working with Waitrose to make the scheme even better.
    In particular, the landscaping and street furniture looks fabulous, a real benefit to the rather dingy 'pocket car parks' that exist at the moment. And the view over the Green from the Red Lion will be something very special.
    Lets all get together at the Council meeting and support this scheme!

  5. Bob and Sue, don't get so upset! Do you really think that Waitrose would build a supermarket if there wasn't enough space to park? Surely that would be commercial suicide? There is also a lot of factual evidence from Kenilworth etc that a Waitrose improves the situation for small retailers. And traffic around St Johns Close will be improved by taking a lot of the cars off the road. Its a nightmare at the moment.

  6. I don't think a big outside concern like Waitrose would care that much about local traffic and parking problems. They're in it for the money and so long as they are getting people past the doors it would not matter to them what is going on outside.

  7. A good proposal, let's crack on.

  8. You probably don't even live in Knowle.

  9. I live in knowle and Waitrose will get the go ahead. Great news. Very happy.