From the emails and messages we've had from residents, we know you have a lot of concerns about the new development being proposed for Wilmer Place. Below are some of the issues that have been raised so far and the questions that we feel need to be answered. As we said before - please do go to the drop in sessions THIS Friday and Saturday and talk to the developers about what is being planned.
1) Safety of pedestrians in Wilmer Place
Wilmer Place is a well used pedestrian route to Church Street through an alleyway from the High Street. Many children and families pass through here on their way to William Patten School. The Council has a policy of encouraging children to walk to school. How will your plans respect the safety of pedestrians using this route? Will your plans enhance it at all? Will the pavements on Wilmer Place be retained?
2) Noise nuisance
Wilmer Place residents are also worried about deliveries outside their homes, and the noise and nuisance from lorries.
a) There have been reports of some Sainsbury’s stores making deliveries at 3a.m. for the convenience of the store. Can you assure us that the management practices at the new store would be considerate of local residents who live close to the site?
b) can you show us on the plans where the noisy machinery for the refrigeration that the store requires will be placed?
The plans involve demolishing part of an old terrace of buildings on the High Street, which is in a conservation area. How are you proposing to compensate the local community for this permanent loss? What impact will the entrance to the supermarket have on this stretch of the High Street? Is this overdevelopment of a relatively small site? There doesn’t appear to be much open space at ground level.
4) Traffic and the environment
The plans show an entrance to an underground car park on the High Street. This part of the High Street is very narrow, and the entrance is near to two junctions on a red route and bus stops. There are also concerns about pedestrian safety. What traffic management assessments will you be carrying out? Will the bus stops have to move? Have the plans taken into account the future of the gyratory and the possibility that this stretch might return to two way?
The Council has policies to promote and improve conditions for pedestrians. What, in your plans, are the benefits to pedestrians and cyclists?
We have heard that you do not propose to carry out an environmental impact assessment and that the Council has confirmed your interpretation of the regulations. Would you be willing to carry out a full environmental impact assessment? It is a thorough assessment, and would help to reassure that the environmental concerns of local residents are being taken seriously.
Your publicity says that the development will bring 200 new jobs to the area. We are concerned that the reverse will be the case - that people in the local independent shops will lose their jobs. Do you have evidence from other parts of the country to show that supermarkets do not cause job losses and that there will be a net employment benefit to the local area?
6) Affordable housing
What proportion of the proposed housing is affordable? What proportion is family-sized?
7) The retail offer
Many residents have said that we don't need another Sainsbury's in the local area given there are so many other supermarkets nearby. Why is the retail offer centred on a new Sainsbury's store? Have other alternatives been considered?
8) Community Consultation
Given the promise of consulting with the community, is there a willingness from the developer to substantially change the plans following the feedback from the drop in sessions?