Thursday, 1 November 2012

Approve Waitrose next week, council report says

A WAITROSE plan for Knowle should be approved next week, a council report says.

                   Artists impression (new)
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Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee will be asked to make a decision on the plan on Wednesday.

The committee will meet in the council’s offices next to Touchwood at 4.30pm. The public can attend and The Silhillian will provide live coverage via Twitter.

Kimberley Developments wants to build the store on a disused bowling green by The Red Lion car park, with deliveries via Station Road.

Five nearby bungalows would be re-provided in the village to make way for parking spaces.

A council planning officer said: “I am content that the submitted scheme successfully respects the character and appearance of the surrounding area and conservation area.

“Furthermore, the significant enhancement to the public realm adjacent to the village green will increase its attractiveness and sense of place.”

They said: “The proposal is not expected to cause unacceptable traffic impact to the surrounding area.

“Sufficient parking is provided and servicing arrangements are considered to be appropriate.”

The report said the plan “would meet a significant qualitative deficiency in the centre where main food shopping facilities are very limited”.

They said there would be “more than enough expenditure capacity to support the store” even when a Sainsbury’s is built in Dorridge.

There would be a “notable increase in traffic” in the afternoon and weekend peak periods but new spaces would tackle congestion in existing “poorly laid out” car parks by the village hall.

Some 72 letters opposed the scheme along with a petition with 1,040 signatures with concerns about the impact on other traders, extra traffic and parking.

But 27 letters supported the plan along with a 160-signature petition. Supporters said it would “bring new life” to the village and provide needed competition for Tesco.

One comment said: “Knowle is a ghost town with lack of choice for shopping.”

Knowle councillor Jeff Potts delivered 4,000 surveys to homes. Of the 617 returned, 63 per cent opposed and 35 supported the plan.

A report from a conservation firm commissioned by Knowle Society said the “out of scale” plan would have a negative impact on views.

But none of the council’s officers from departments including highways and conservation raised objections.

The store would open every day from 8am to 10pm with deliveries from 7am to 10pm and firm said it would create about 120 jobs.

The report says the scheme would increase spaces in shoppers car parks in the close and Tesco from 218 to 266. Red Lion spaces would fall from 49 to 28.

The firm has also applied to create 47 spaces at Lodge Croft.

A previous 2011 scheme to put the store on the site of village hall, which would be replaced on the bowling green, was withdrawn.

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  1. I live in Knowle, and am fully in support. It will give real competition to the disappointing Tesco Metro, whilst being expensive enough not to undercut all local shops.
    Besides all that, the local economy needs the jobs boost. Let's be honest, I don't think the constant increase in charity shops is going to have much of an impact on growth.

    Let's hope the council see sense and approve.

  2. 63%, in the survey, opposed to the plans and only 35% in favour; 72 letters against and 27 for; 1040 petition signatures for, 160 against. I think this says it all. Let's hope the council listen to the people they represent.

  3. Correction....1040 petition signatures against, 160 for.

    ....and I think there would be even more charity shops coming to Knowle if the Waitrose plans are approved because of the competition impact on existing traders. I also fear that the traffic and parking situation is being played down by the council. They would be able to fall back on resurrecting Knowle High Street by-pass plans that would seriously affect established residential neighbourhoods.

  4. How many of the councillors involved actually live in Knowle? As far as I know, only Jeff Potts does. He KNOWS how the parking is already a huge problem, particularly towards the end of the week.

    Do people really want Knowle to turn into another Solihull, which is only a 10 minute bus-ride away? People live in Knowle because it's Knowle, not supermarket city.

  5. Two of the three Knowle councillors live in the village, addresses here:

    The full results of Cllr Potts' survey(from SMBC report):

    Councillor Potts has also submitted the results of a ward wide consultation regarding the proposals. 4000 forms were delivered and 617 replies were returned. The results are as follows:

    63% opposed the scheme; 35% supported the scheme and 2% were uncommitted.

    65% believed it would have a negative impact on the village; 31% thought the scheme was about right.

    62% opposed to proposed parking arrangements for increased traffic; 28% either supported or thought levels were about right; 10% unsure.

    49% opposed delivery arrangements; 39% found them about right.

    57% thought structure too bug; 28% thought it was too small or about right.

  6. 4,000 surveys - only 617 bothered to express a view
    Of those 389 are against
    That is 9% actively against - looks as though opposition very small

  7. I wouldn't believe a word Cllr Potts says. He was fiercely against Sainsburys in Dorridge and then had a total turnaround at the planning meeting and voted fully in favour.
    I wouldn't trust a Cllr as far as I could hurl him.
    Now that Solihull will benefit from the business rates from any 'new' business, the Council will be falling over themselves to pass these applications on the basis that they need the money. Hasn't the same thing just happened with the Sainsbury's application in Haslucks green road?
    we will be so inundated with supermarkets soon that we'll be able to have one each - can I bags a small one please?!

  8. Looks as if the number in favour is even smaller - much smaller.

  9. Waitrose have said that responses at a June 2011 exhibition showed 62 per cent of residents supported “the principle of the plans for Knowle village centre” and yet now a wider survey of residents shows 63 per cent are against the scheme. Council, please note.

  10. You can't mess with the statistics like this and be taken seriously
    If only 9% are actively against
    Only 5.6% are actively for it
    85% don't see it as a cause for concern or particular interest either way.
    Why would you let such a small no decide?
    Personally I think Waitrose is over-rated and expensive but would definitely boost the village's profile

    1. You have got no idea, have you ever been to a waitrose,no i did not think so, u are just think waitrose is expensive,it good quality good staff and i suggest you go to a waitrose and try it out.BRING ON WAITROSE IN KNOWLE CANNOT WAIT

  11. All the Councillors need to look at is the 62% in favour from those who bothered to attend the exhibitions. Most people see it as a non-issue. There is too much fear and loathing about new development, the Village Hall/Tescos/precinct is a shambles. We are all used to better facilities than we have here at the moment and it is about time we were brought up to date.

  12. Bob and Susan James5 November 2012 at 15:14

    Unfortunately, most of these 'anonymous' comments miss the main point - there is not enough car park provision in Knowle at the present and this proposal only adds 30 or so real extra spaces near to the shops. Knowle could easily use these extra spaces now. If you look at other developments around the country, supermarkets of 18,000 sq ft are typically built with 200 spaces. The Knowle proposal is for a store of 11,600 sq ft with just 30 or so new spaces. It just doesn't add up and it won't do Knowle any favours whatsoever. The roads around St John's Close will be a mess, especially with people getting into and leaving the end-on parking spaces. A 'non-issue' it isn't!

  13. Looking forward to it, will modernise the village in the right way.

    Don't get me wrong, if this was a bigger unit like the Sainsburys in Dorridge, I would be dead against, but you can see by the way the Dorridge residents badly wanted Waitrose there, that this will be good for us here. People should stop fearing any change and embrace the right change.

    Let's crack on.

  14. How can 00:03 imply that Waitrose is "badly wanted" by Knowle residents when a mere 5.6% are in favour? Waitrose is not needed in Knowle. Other supermarkets are at hand. The large number of people not responding to the consultation survey are clearly content with the existing shopping facilities in the borough. A small number of councillors are going to decide on Knowle's future and clearly there will be severe traffic and parking problems if the scheme goes ahead. Other more deprived areas could do with the investment but maybe this is just too easy a"tick on the list" situation for the Council.

  15. Look - 85% people don't care one way or another - a massive majority - that's the point
    Only 9% DON'T want it so they have no mandate whatsoever.
    I go to Waitrose every week with an elderly relative - it is expensive but they like it - I'm not bothered for it but that's ok - people who like it can go there and people who don't can go to tesco or Sainsbury's
    I am in favour of it as I think it will be good for the village - it doesn't have to be 'badly needed' hardly any shops are 'badly needed' in an area like this but it will improve the village image.

  16. With the extra traffic chaos that would arise the village image would definitely suffer. It is sad to think that 85% of people don't care, if 11:57's argument is to be believed. If that is right then they don't have a voice and so should be completely discounted. In an election or any democratic decision making process the 9% would hold sway over the 5.6%.

  17. 04/11/2012 18:09

    To say Councillor Potts was vhemently against Sainsburys in Dorridge is to put politeley
    is rubbish.
    The first application failed to make the grade in planning terms and was quite rightly rejected by the Planning Committee.

    THe second made the grade and was quite rightly approved by the committee.

    As one resident put their is more life in a cemetary than Forest Court

  18. The first application for Dorridge Sainsbury's never made it to the planning committee, it was withdrawn by the applicant. The second, revised application, was put to committee and approved.

    1. Suggest 18/11/2012 16:16 consult council minutes and read the truth

  19. Apologies, you're right, my memory's going!