Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Approve Solihull Waitrose, council officer says

A WAITROSE plan for Solihull town centre should be approved next week, a council planning officer has said.

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The plan to knock down St Catharine’s Court offices and an adjacent building, both in Homer Road, should be approved, the Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council officer said.

The planning committee will be asked to make a decision when it meets on Wednesday.

The single-storey supermarket would have 1,743sqm of retail floor space and café with access from Homer Road.

It would include a warehouse and 198 parking spaces – 12 disabled – over a three-storey car park.

It would create 150 jobs, the firm said, and be open from 7.30am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm Sunday and bank holidays.

Three letters were sent to the council opposing the plans, including one from Lendlease representing Touchwood Shopping Centre, and another from West Midlands Police.

This included concerns about queuing and the the “impact on the operation of the John Lewis car parks”.

They said: “There is an abundance of supermarkets both in the centre and at Sainsbury’s Dorridge; Asda at Shirley and Waitrose in Knowle in the pipeline.

“Problems will be caused to drivers on Homer Road, those trying to get to and from work and from traffic entering and leaving Touchwood and John Lewis car parks onto Homer Road.”

But the council officer said the offices had been empty since 2012 and marketed unsuccessfully since 2008.

It “does much to improve this key corner location” and “strengthen the link with the town centre which generates pedestrian movements to and from the railway station and bus interchange, and increase the appeal and usage of the path to Tudor Grange Park”.

A Waitrose 1,161sqm sales area plan for Knowle was approved in 2012 and work is underway on a 2,276sqm sales area Sainsbury’s in Dorridge, to open by Christmas.
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