SCM Objection to Seven Capital outline plans

Stirchley Community Market object to the Seven Capital plans. Here are our comments. 

There are currently two plans by Seven Capital, this one about the Retail Park – the other one is about housing, you can find it on the planning portal.

Link: (link: https://eplanning.birmingham.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/ApplicationSearch.aspx) eplanning.birmingham.gov.uk/Northgate/Plan… Search ref number: 2018/10370/PA

or you can email comments to: planningandregenerationenquiries@birmingham.gov.uk

The deadline to submit commits is marked as 9th May, but comments/objections are still being accepted until this is taken to a Planning meeting. Feel free to use our comments as inspiration.

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Objection to Seven Capital Retail Park 2018/10370/PA

Who we are:

A local community group established in 2010. Stirchley Community Market gives the local community, and commuters on their way home from work, an opportunity to find out what Stirchley has to offer. The market is entirely run by local residents on an unpaid voluntary basis, we have a shared aim of making Stirchley a better place to be. The vibrant community market in the city suburb of Stirchley began with an exciting partnership between Birmingham City Council’s Town Centre Partnerships, local arts group Stirchley HappeningsSouth Birmingham Food Co-op and local cookery school and community bakery Loaf. Stirchley Community Market  launched on Tuesday the 27th July 2010 at Stirchley United Working Men’s club with it’s first market selling wholefoods, bread, hot curry, hot pizza, artisan preserves, cupcakes, local fruit and vegetables, and local arts and crafts. The market joined local stalwarts such as the multi-award winning Moseley Farmers Market, Leverton & Halls organic cafe and Birmingham’s first organic butcher Rossiters in Bournville, in helping Birmingham’s grassroots scene punch it’s own weight with the likes of Manchester, Bristol and London.

Stirchley Community Market objection/comments on Seven Capital’s plans:

  • We object to a drive through
  • We object to a supermarket
  • We are in support of smaller shop units, public realm development, and community facilities / a gym, and also housing as per the other Seven Capital outline plans
  • Whatever you build should be facing on to the high street not away from it, and the buildings need to open up on to the green spaces already in existence (River Rea route), and ideally develop these further
  • Reopen Hazelwell Lane for the public, not for a drive through. Did the council sell Hazelwell Lane? Why is it no longer in use? How are people going to access Stirchley United Working Men’s Club?
  • Liaise with Stirchley United Working Men’s Club – their building is going to be hidden by the ‘drive-thru’, reconfigure plans so that an open area / public square is in front, perhaps
  • If there is a public square – where you envisage markets – liaise with us at Stirchley Community Market – we have been running a market in Stirchley for almost nine years
  • Cycle infrastructure and appropriate signage is needed, to ensure easy and safe access to the National Cycle Route 5, the plans don’t seem to have thought this through that much other than saying ‘access through housing’. Is it really going to be that safe for cyclists and pedestrians, if there are cars not really aware that it is an access point for a prominent cycle path?
  • This is introducing a new point of entry for pollution – cars will be moving very slowly with their engines running. We are concerned about the effect on the air quality, which is already not great on the Pershore Road. Thinking of the future of Stirchley and in general the climate, we want to be finding ways to encourage less use of cars.
  • The plans are going to significantly affect traffic in the area by the nature of a drive-through = queues.
  • It is unlikely that people will park in the supermarket car park and walk down to the main high street, as the outline plans claim. Supermarkets are generally ‘one-stop shops’. We already have two supermarkets.
  • There’s nothing on here about trees, vital carbon dioxide absorbers, only colourful shrubbery, could you factor more trees in? Linking up with Stirchley Fruit and Nut Village community project.
  • The Heritage impact – the plans are bland and are going to be next to a beautiful listed pub.

Errors in the documents:

  • Your ecology report was from January 2018 and for a different site in Stirchley (one you haven’t included in this development). There has been badger sightings at the bottom of Hunts Road. There are also sighted bats on Hazelwell Allotments, and likely around the former Hazelwell Lane site.

FURTHER NOTES

Comments to corresponding paragraphs that we have picked out.

On the ‘Outline Planning Document’

3.3 Meetings with Local Stakeholders 3.3.1 In addition, the Applicant has meet local stakeholders and community groups prior to the submission of the application.

Who did Seven Capital meet with? As far as we are aware Seven Capital haven’t done any community engagement.

“Commercial (in Stirchley District Centre) • 1581 Pershore Road (Magnet) – Planning application reference 2016/10105/PA, for a 1,585 sqm Aldi food store is currently pending consideration. “

How will this new application affect this Aldi proposal?

• “Fitness First/Stirchley Bowl site, Pershore Road – Planning permission (reference 2016/00664/PA) for demolition of buildings and erection of a food store was approved by the Council in February 2017. However, this has now been quashed by the Council following a legal challenge from a residents’ association.”

What is the latest with this? Do Lidl still own the land? It was quashed but Lidl still ploughed through and demolished Fitness First.

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Hazelwell Lane, Stirchley – Retail Assessment – Stirchley Community Market comments.

20 7.3.2 Stirchley district centre offers a range of independent comparison goods retail provision. However, representation of national multiple comparison retailers in the centre is limited to three retail warehouse units in the south of the centre that accommodate Magnet, Tool Station and Wickes; and Dorothy Perkins and The Works concessions within the Co-op store.

Agree: This is actually a positive thing for Stirchley and SCM is pleased that it has been noted in the retail assessment. The tone is derogatory against independent retailers – Stirchley has a thriving independent scene.

7.3.6 Assuming that 90% of the comparison turnover of the proposed scheme is clawed back from destinations outside of Stirchley district centre, then the proposed scheme will provide an £1.2m increase in the comparison turnover of Stirchley district centre. As shown in Table 7.2, the comparison trade attracted to the proposed scheme will result in an 8% increase in the total comparison turnover of the centre.

Disagree. This isn’t money going into the community or local businesses, this is (predicted) money going to national chains. This isn’t any benefit to the local area. It’s taking money away from smaller independent businesses.

7.4.4 The application site occupies a prominent location off Pershore Road, one of the main arterial routes in the south of the city. The site is cleared and has remained derelict for a number of years as longstanding proposals to redevelop the site for a Tesco foodstore were abandoned in 2016. The proposed redevelopment of the site will transform this currently vacant site in the heart of Stirchley district centre into a modern and high-quality development that will substantially improve the local environment and perceptions of the centre. It will consolidate the retail offer into the Primary Shopping Area and increase footfall in this area, helping to create a vibrant retail core and more sustainable district centre

Disagree. A drive through does not constitute a retail core – neither does a supermarket. Supermarkets are never at the core of a community.

7.4.5 We note that the potential for the redevelopment of the application site to deliver wide ranging benefits to Stirchley is recognised by the Council in the Stirchley Framework SPD, which notes the ‘potential of the site to deliver positive change to revitalise the shopping centre…’.

Disagree. This should not be interpreted to mean a drive through takeaway or supermarket. It should be a public square/green, public seating, shops / market area / public art, space for public performances (a village square)

7.5.1 The proposed scheme represents a major development opportunity in the most appropriate site in terms of its proximity to Stirchley district centre. The scheme will bring with it increased investor confidence and help to encourage additional developments in the locality, along with attracting major national multiples to the centre.

Disagree. With Tesco pulling out we think confidence should be at an all time low for the national supermarket chains. Stirchley would rather opportunities for local and independent businesses, and community facilities.

7.6.4 The NPPF sets out that planning should operate to encourage and not act as an impediment to sustainable growth and therefore that significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth through the planning system. It is evident that the proposed development will make a contribution to local economic growth

It is evident that Stirchley is doing very well without big chain nationals – the support needs to be in place to continue the independents in the high street by offering more shop space, not a supermarket or fast food drive through.

Heritage Impact Statement: Dr Peter Wardle and Colin Lacey 29th December 2018 1.

Summary ‘On balance it is considered that the proposals will have a positive impact on the settings of nearby heritage assets.’

This is not true. The bland designs are going to be next to a beautiful listed pub and the plans have had no public consultation as yet.

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