Thursday, 20 September 2012

Conservation chief backs Waitrose

A COUNCIL conservation boss has backed a revised Waitrose scheme for Knowle.

Artists impression (new)
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A report to Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s conservation advisory committee said the scheme would bring economic benefits to the village.

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.

The council has yet to make a decision and the Kimberley Development plans have since been modified.

A committee report by a council officer said: “I am content that the visual impacts of the amended scheme would be adequately and reasonably compensated for by the benefits that the store could generate in visitors to and income for the wider conservation area.

“Further aspects such as local employment and reversing leakage to other centres could produce further benefits and increased spending in Knowle, with a consequent potential for continued or improved maintenance of properties and spaces essential to the special character of the conservation area.”

A smaller roof volume over the two-storey area and staff amenity block was an improvement it said and the block is “not unduly tall” and would be similar to others.

It would be a “large but not excessive building” and there were now more “visual enhancements” it says.

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to put the store on the site of the village hall, which would have been provided on the bowling green, but was withdrawn.

The report says: “The current plans show a scheme that would better fit the context and local character of Knowle than all previous submissions.”

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  1. Perhaps this will put an end to all the wild rumours that Waitrose has bought Forest Court in Dorridge from Sainsbury's and is going to build there. Very strange that people believed this when Sainsbury's have just bought the petrol station in Dorridge.

  2. No mention of the traffic and parking problems that would blight and certainly not conserve the area. There are other not so well served areas in the Borough that might benefit from employment and increased spending projects.

  3. It appears that more consideration has been given to the 'visual impacts' of the proposed building. What about the impact that an increased amount of visitors and the traffic that they will generate, will have on the surrounding road infrastructure? Knowle is already a busy shopping area which struggles to currently accommodate the ever increasing amount of shoppers and their cars. Extra parking may well be in the plans for this new supermarket proposal, but people will first have to get to the car park through the small village road system which was never designed for such volume of traffic. Extra traffic does not make for pleasant experience. How is this proposal in the interests of "conservation"?. What is being conserved?

  4. Generally good proposal. I have not lived in Knowle that long, and I appreciate it's a delicate balance with supermarkets, but it's not like Waitrose is cheap, so they won't be a price leader, as they are a premium brand. Also, with the state of the West Midlands economy, there is now way on earth a council will not approve this and the employment it will bring. I know there might be an argument that long term the net employment gain is less if smaller shops suffer, but all things considered, it should be a net gain for employment, and that's something the region badly needs.
    Will it ultimately be good for the character of Knowle?, I am on the fence and think it could go either way. Remember, often Waitrose helps the image of a town. It's much much more preferable, in my view, than having a Tesco or a Sainsburys, so we should be thankful it's a boutique high end type supermarket rather than something that will dominate the landscape and change the feel of the village/town.

    1. I doubt Knowle has any image problem 0r aitrose would not want to come here. Whether they are a premium brand or not is irrelevant. How many customers do they need to be viable (they know but do not say) and what impact will numbers have on traffic and car parking, which are already issues. What employment will it bring? Unless people shop more, it will take jobs away from Tesco and other nearby shops so it does not bring employment but redistributes what is already there. My issue is not about the brand but the potentially adverse impact

  5. I cannot believe this scheme has still not been approved. We are desperate to have a decent supermarket in the area and this would seem perfect. Villages have to move with the times to stay fresh. Lets get the investment whilst its going.

  6. I think Waitrose is highly overrated. People must like paying higher prices for average quality just for the snob value. Tescos, Sainsbury's, Morrison's etc are all within a 5 mile radius in adequate numbers and are "decent supermarkets". The traffic and parking issue is definitely being conveniently overlooked.

    1. u do not know what u are talking about,have you ever been in a john lewis store who are part of waitrose,no i did not think so.jl and waitrose are excellent stores, food,product and staff are excellent.tesco is to small very unfriendly,morrisons is not decent and the local sainsbury is ok in solihull.parking will be fine WHEN WAITROSE WILL BE BUILT

  7. We hear that the Waitrose /Kimberley develpments have been passed by Solihull planning comittee by an 8 to 1 vote. It makes us wonder what has influenced the comittee members to vote this way. It certainly was not for the benefit of Knowle and its residents.Having won Solihull council over will the developer now extend its interest to change other parts of Knowle?