Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Sainsbury's and Abbotswood Road
Last night the Planning Committee met to consider an application by Sainsbury's for retrospective planning permission for changes it has made to its store on Dog Kennel Hill. There is no doubt that Sainsburys have acted very badly in respect of this matter - they were given planning permission in 2004 for a mainly glass extension to the store and built something completely different with timber cladding.
At the same time they changed the road layout into the store, which has caused huge problems for the residents of the St Francis Estate, who have found it nearly impossible to drive out of Abbotswood Road at times when the store has been particularly busy.
The proposals before the Planning Committee last night involved changing the current road layout to provide a mini roundabout; the installation of some glazing in place of the timber at the store front; and landscaping the car park to include a greater number of trees.
After two hours of presentations and debate; including submissions from local residents and my colleague Veronica Ward; concluding at 10.30pm the Committee voted to approve the plans, with a condition that the mini-roundabout should be trialled for a year to see if there is a genuine improvement for the residents of the St Francis Estate.
I still have some concerns about whether the mini-roundabout will be an effective solution for the traffic management problems, but I hope that it is some improvement. If the Committee had rejected the proposals last night local residents would have had to wait at least another year for alternative proposals to be implemented. So it was a case of the 'least worst' option going ahead. I hope that the works to install the mini-roundabout will begin soon.