At a closed session of Marple Area Committee on 5th February 2014 councillors voted to recommend acceptance of a report by the Director for Place Management and Regeneration on the future development of Chadwick Street car park.
The report recommended that the contract with their previously preferred developer, Kirkland Developments, should be terminated and the council proceed with an in-house scheme using their new property partners Carillion:CBRE. The Civic Society submitted a report to the Area Committee restating its position that it supports the foodstore development as a means of regenerating Marple but has grave concerns regarding the council's traffic scheme and calls for an independent study. See here for our report. The Director's report came before the Council Executive the following week for final approval and was approved. See here for minutes of the Council Executive meeting (Item 18).
We have two serious concerns:
- an in-house scheme removes commercial pressure and therefore could delay the start date of the development.
- there will be no requirement to resubmit a new planning application. This means that the council's traffic scheme, which would create a 'ring road' effect around the new store and precinct, has planning permission to go ahead.
|Would you like to see this space used for an extra lane of traffic?|
The Director's report states that the development "is strongly supported by the local community". This may well be the case for the foodstore but the traffic scheme was NOT part of the Kirkland consultation. Therefore, the community has NOT been consulted on the widening of Stockport Road at the Hollins Lane junction (including pedestrian island and two stage crossing) or traffic lights to replace the roundabout at Littlewoods butchers. Indeed residents consulted by the Civic Society, many of whom attended the Kirland consultation, were not aware of the traffic proposals.
Following the Area Committee meeting, chair of committee Cllr. Candler wrote to the Civic Society in response to our submission. He said that our report would be minuted, that the Area Committee understood our concerns and that "there may well be a need for a complete review of the highway implications of any revised scheme as we move forward".
However, the minutes of the Council Executive meeting, where the decision was taken, show that the Civic Society's concerns were not discussed. Only public pressure now stands in the way of a full implementation of the council's traffic scheme.
The Civic Society's position remains that we support the provision of a food store on Chadwick Street car park with the condition that an independent urban design exercise is carried out to include meaningful consultation with the local community.
In view of the long term effects the development will have on our town the Civic Society believes that this is not too much to ask.