Stirchley residents get answers from Tesco about new store

Steve McCabe MP, Birmingham Selly Oak, held a busy meeting of Stirchley residents for an update from Tesco about the planned store on Hazelwell Lane.

 

Steve asked representatives from Tesco to come to a meeting with local residents to answer some of their questions and address their concerns as many residents are frustrated about the lack of action caused by legal battles.

 

Tesco is now waiting for the outcome of a Compulsory Purchase Order inquiry which is planned to take place in April; the outcome of this inquiry will determine the next stages. Tesco are beginning a public consultation in March/April and hope to submit a planning application to Birmingham City Council between April and June 2013. Tesco hope to begin work on the site in late 2014 and would like to see the store open by Christmas 2015. These timescales are dependent on planning permission and any potential judicial challenges.

 

Steve said:

“Tesco were very clear about their commitment to building a store in Stirchley and contributing to the wider regeneration of Stirchley. When asked if people were in favour of the development the majority of people present at the meeting were in favour. I believe this development will bring much needed investment to the area and echo what many people have said to me that they want to see things moving on this project.”

 

For a summary of questions and answers asked at the meeting please see below.

 

Tesco update on Stirchley Store – Wednesday 20 Feb, Stirchley Community Church

 

Timeline, as indicated by Tesco representatives:

CPO inquiry - April 2013

Public consultation – March/April 2013

Submit planning application – April-June 2013

Hope to get consent by end of 2013

Hope to start enabling work on site in late 2014

Will take 48-52 weeks to build

Hope to open Christmas 2015

NB – above dependent on planning permission and potential judicial challenges

 

 

·         Show of hands gauging support for Tesco development – Majority in favour

 

Planning questions

·         Do the CPO powers have to be confirmed before plans can continue?

Yes, Tesco need to acquire all the land before development can begin.

·         What is going to happen to the Tasco’s club? Land owned by Co-op, is whole of site subject to CPO or just part?

Whole site included in CPO. Club building will not be touched. As Hazelwell Lane will be moved the site will lose a small amount of car parking and the access will be changed.

·         New plans will expand Tesco floor space and ‘box off’ cafe/coffee shop. Concerned about the aesthetics, think curved cafe sounded more attractive.

Tesco confident the new design will not be ‘boxy’, Tesco have improved their design models since 2004, more environmental friendly, more natural light etc. Should be an improvement on previous plans.

·         What consideration has been made to those houses on Hunts Road backing onto the Car park?

Car park changing slightly from 2004 plans, there will be boundary and landscape treatment. More details during public consultation.

·         Will the current high fencing remain in place on Hunts Road?

Currently Palisade Security Fencing in place. Whether it stays or not is subject to the new planning application, can’t comment further at this time.

·         Will there be a petrol station on the site?

No plans for petrol station at present, will be considered once the store is built and trading. Can’t promise there won’t ever be one on site but rarely go back and open a petrol station. Any such addition would be subject to separate application.

·         Will there still be access to Stirchley through Stirchley Park during building?

Not on plans, so assume it will be unaffected

·         How long will construction work take?

48-52 weeks

·         Details of construction working hours?

This is controlled by planning consent. Normally business trading hours, Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Saturday morning, no work on Sundays. This is subject to change, there may be accelerated working hours if deemed necessary.

·         Concerns about pollution during construction

Construction period will be difficult and will have issues. There will be frustrations but local residents will have to bear with it. Planning authority will ensure rules are adhered to, Tesco employ considerate contractors, there will be one point of contact on site for residents

·         Concerns about sound pollution

Service yard will have acoustic shields screening area. Will have to comply with environment officers, who can impose restrictions on deliveries if noise is an issue.

·         What is being done about light pollution?

Understand this will be an issue, but can be addressed at public consultation. Local authority will also look at this in planning process.

·         Still seems to be uncertainty about project, what is the back-up plan if current plans fall through?

Can’t be certain until outcome of CPO inquiry. There is a commitment at senior level in Tesco for a Stirchley Store and to Stirchley regeneration, Tesco have already spent a significant amount of money and own 75% of the land needed. CPO inquiry costs a lot of money and hope it will go in their favour. Tesco do own sufficient land to build a smaller store if this is the only option, but stress that this is only as a last resort.

 

Questions about the store once it is trading

·         What guarantees are there about working hours and delivery times?

Plan to be open 24 hours, with exception of Sunday Trading hours

·         Where will deliveries be coming in and out of?

Servicing via Hazelwell Lane.

·         How many spaces will the car park have?

450-500

 

Parking and Traffic concerns:

·         Has Tesco done an assessment on what the increased traffic flow will be?

Matter for highways consultants and local planning authority. When planning application was submitted in 2004 traffic data was examined and traffic models across the city. Will have to be re-visited when new application is submitted.

·         Parking arrangements for Pershore Road, how will this impact residents?

Plan to widen Pershore Road into Tesco site and incorporate a lay-by. Will be parking for residents, but have to consider disabled parking and shops at this location too. Public consultation will reveal more.

·         Concerns about bottle neck between Dogpool Lane and Fordhouse Lane, how many more cars are expected once the store is open and what is the impact?

Tesco representatives unable to answer as not a highways consultant. Local authority will be looking at this through the planning process.

·         Hazelwell Lane will be used as access. Twyning road at present is quiet. What are the consequences for Twyning and Ripple road? Don’t want more traffic?

Highways solution will be slightly different to previous plans, will now be a round-about on Pershore Road not traffic signals. Do not expect this to have any impact on surrounding roads, just Hazelwell Lane.

 

Concerns about local community groups and facilities

·         Tesco offered Stirchley United Working Men’s Club alternative site where Kwic Save was, this is not big enough to accommodate them. Want to talk to Tesco about their future

Tesco acknowledge they can’t force the working men’s club into a building they don’t want, can either buy out their interest or find alternative site. Tesco are in talks with the clubs agents, are happy to have a dialogue with club and hear suggestions.

·         Lifford Business Association hoping to establish Business Improvement District in area, will Tesco support it?

Tesco do support BID’s and are happy to start discussions with the LBA about how to work together.

·         When will the Community Centre have to be vacated? What will happen if it has to be vacated before new centre is open?

Council is responsible for providing new community centre so cannot comment. Tesco happy for community centre to continue on site until they need the land, this will probably be in 2014 but will make sure ample warning is given before the site needs to be vacated.

·         Has Tesco made any provision for the Stirchley Community Market when they take over land, will Tesco help the market?

Tesco are happy to meet with representatives from the market and discuss issue further, Tesco want local markets to flourish.

·         TASCO’s club put events on for the local community, Co-Op have contributed in the past, will Tesco?

Tesco are proud to support local charities, the new store’s ‘Community Champion’ will look at this once store is up and running.

 

Environmental concerns:

·         Concerns about impact of new store on wildlife at River Rae

No impact on river. Site used to be industrial; the Tesco store will be more environmentally friendly and a cleaner business than previous occupants.

·         Concerns about impact on environment. Tesco’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050 seems very far away.

Every effort is being made to make Tesco environmentally friendly, invested £1bn over years to do this.

Steve McCabe MP also pointed out that the issue of de-carbonisation is still subject to the Energy Bill going through Parliament, the Government are yet to set their own target.

 

Other questions

·         Has there been any difference in approach to the development from the Conservative-Lib Dem administration and the new Labour council.

Tesco have had good dealings with Birmingham City Council officers for some time, no change in nature of discussions.

·         Challenge claim that 250 jobs will be created, as other jobs will be lost in local area as a result of Tesco moving in. No overall gain.

Tesco do not agree, they are regeneration partners and are working with Jobcentre Plus and the Council to ensure jobs go to those most in need. Used new Yardley store as example of where Tesco have opened and contributed positively to area, has helped to increase footfall in the area which has enabled smaller retailers to flourish.

·         How do local people get information about recruitment?

Tesco have national contract with Jobcentre Plus, will advertise through them and also through regeneration partnership.

 

 

For more information on Tesco’s plans please contact jonathan.simpson@uk.tesco.com

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