Thursday, May 08, 2008

Final Tesco stuff

Tav over on WFA has alerted me to the objections on air quality grounds to the Tesco development I've commented there, but it led me to a longer document that needs some closer attention.

A 46-page Appendix on the full Tesco in Stourport proposal with lots of neat summaries.

The first 5 pages are blah background on the original proposals, rejections, and appeals. Neat point on 1.3 which declares

the site lies within the Town Centre Inset on the WFLP Proposals Map, but lies outside of the identified Primary Shopping Area of Stourport on Severn
So is that Edge of Centre or Out of Centre which are the terms bandied about in the planning documents?

Hold on to your hats for 1.6 this summarises the main works that Tesco propose to um make every little bit help?

"Upgrading of Severn Road and the new Link Road to Discovery Road" amazing you'd think they'd want people to be able to drive to their store - duh?

"Provision of a shared pedestrian and cycle way on Severn Road and the new Link Road." Hmm so a pedestrian bridge and a vehicular bridge with a shared pedestrian/cycle route. Oo I know how about directing all pedestrians to their own bridge and just having a non-shared cycle route?

"Signalised junction at Mitton Street / Severn Road including full pedestrian crossing facilities." Well it needs the crossing to be classed as EOC (according to the consultants report). However this means that everyone will switch to the right-hand lane until they're past Severn Road because traffic waiting to turn will block up the left-hand lane. It gets better when done in conjunction with -

"Improvements to pedestrian widths along Mitton Street." So unless they're thinking of knocking down walls and buildings this means narrowing two lanes that can barely allow two larger vehicles to pass as it is. Meh everyone will be using the right-hand lane anyway except -

"Signalised pedestrian crossing facilities at the Mitton Street/Lion Hill junction." will cause a queue to form in the left-hand lane and everyone whose been using the right-hand lane to avoid the first junction will start to block that lane as they try to merge with a queue. Locals might want to think of it as becoming a blind version of Gilgal in the morning rush, but for the afternoon and evening.

"Vehicle access to the development via a new priority junction with Severn Road. New access road incorporates a shared pedestrian and cycle way, Toucan crossing and bus lay by." This sounds like the island, note yet another shared cyclist pedestrian system.

"New signal pedestrian crossing across Severn Road between the development access road and Lichfield Street." Yay another crossing. I'd just like to point out that we have an entire three crossings in town (which aren't linked) and we're doubling that number just to help people get to Tesco. Oh okay it helps people who want to get into town too, but we all know that's not why they're being proposed.

"One-way operation on Lichfield Street towards Severn Road." Nope can't argue with that about time too.

"New footway outside 10 Severn Road (no existing footway) and 12-14 Severn Road including extended vehicle crossovers to replace existing lay by." No real comment seems fine to me.

"New bus stops on Severn Road close to the store access." because it's important people without cars can get here and not spend as much money. Hmm a niggle is reminding me to ask how the longer buses will around, I'll have to check on the plans.

"New pedestrian bridge linking the store with Pinta Drive and adjoining residential area." No really problem there if it's well lit.

"A Travel Plan Framework, which suggests a new bus service (eg a ‘Hopper’ bus) to connect the town centre with the site, and amendments/improvements to other local services to serve the site." [sigh] yet another 'Look we've got links to the town and aren't yanking everyone from the businesses there' Heh I love the phrase 'serve the site' yes masters.

1.9 -
A pedestrian walkway is proposed along the riverbank,
Damn this starts to sound like the Kidderminster Tesco more and more.
planted with appropriate trees and vegetation.
Yep just like in Kidderminster. More blah until 3.2 when we talk dirty, dirty cash with £573,000 towards an enhanced Stourport bus service, hey this wouldn't be the bus service to the store and the "Hopper" would it?
To contribute to the investigation and development of proposals to improve the junction of York Street / High Street / Bridge Street / New Street. The developer to contribute £50,000.00 payable prior to the opening of the store.
Read carefully. Okay done now did you spot the clever phrasing? Was it "contribute to the investigation and development to improve the junction" nope see the added "of proposals" in there. They just have to look at how the junction could be improved while not being required to spend any money on the actual improvement finally recommended.
To contribute to a scheme to improve pedestrian accessibility by improving the status of Lodge Road. The developer to contribute £30,000 payable prior to the commencement of development.
Which they need to do to be classed as EOC. Oo thanks for improving the access here that you have to do to be able to build, right generous of you.
To contribute to the enhancement of pedestrian and cycle access around Stourport on Severn through signage and street furniture. The developer to contribute £20,000 payable prior to the commencement of development.
Still love "street furniture". Presumably we're talking about signs telling you how to get to Tesco and benches to sit on while you wait for the "Hopper" to take you to Tesco :-P Okay we really do need signs and more benches so I'll give this a pass.
To promote and make best efforts to introduce traffic regulation orders, details to be agreed with the Highway Authority in accordance with the approved highway improvement works. The applicant will contribute all costs associated with the implementation of these orders.
The first bit of legalese. In this instance the TRO is a legal document setting out restrictions such as creating cycle lanes and one-way streets. They require consultations and advertising and here we see Tesco will be paying for those, which is fair enough as that's why they need to be created in the first place.

Then blah blah as nobody raises any major objections except the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust who fricks the wetlands study and the good old Civic society who contest - that the store is disproportionate to needs [dealt with in the Retail document], the need for a petrol station [it's an "expected" part of such a store and don't forget we may be losing one on Vale Road], the adequacy of the local road infrastructure [dealt with above] and
  • The design of the building and the proposed materials pay no regard to local distinctiveness or character
Agreed. Tesco try to make this fly with the 'it didn't match before so who cares' argument. Hurt them and make them squeal for trying this. Oh wait it's okay they're going to plant some trees.
  • Bicycle provision is a token gesture with no thought given to access for cyclists
I hope Dan is taking note with how I'm agreeing here :-)
  • The riverside walkway should be linked through to Worcester Road
But surely it is indirectly or are you thinking about connecting it up to the Stour Bridge, that would be nice if highly infeasible.
  • Better access for bus passengers is required
Not sure.
  • Car park layout needs reconsidering to provide turning points and taxi pick up/set down points
Car parks almost always need reconsidering in my opinion, but I'd be surprised if if didn't already have pick-up/set-down points near the bottom entrance.
  • Where are the staff parking areas?
Duh in the main car-park just like every other development in this area, why do you think this was going to be any different?
  • Delivery Lorries should be restricted to Discovery Road
Yeah the residents will love you for that suggestion despite being the right idea.
  • Question whether Mitton Street is a suitable pedestrian link to the town centre?
That's why they're 'improving' it
  • Vale Street/Mitton Street junction layout welcomed, but question whether this will have any impact on traffic to or from the site?
Wha? No Vale Street/Mitton Street proposal is forthcoming here?
  • Wetland Feasibility Study welcomed, but question whether there will be a Management Plan?
Amusing how the four environmental didn't ask this. Therein lies all the official people they asked, we then get three pages of write-ins raising points already dealt with.

This takes us to the top of page 17, the remaining pages are filled with long justifications as to how they can build here, why it's not out-of-centre, how it'll help business, the economy, shoppers and puppies. Okay maybe not that last one, but I doubt anyone would notice if if did get slipped in amongst the acronyms and long titles.

So has this told us anything new? No not really, but does act as a nice summary to everything that's been going on.


Dan H said...

Yes, I was paying attention to your disapproval of their proposed cycle “provision”. The Tesco on Newmarket Road, Cambridge had quite decent cycle accessibility until they added pinch points that actually made it impossible to cycle to the store without dismounting, and a real pig to get there with a trailer. Tesco's standard cycle stands are cheap and flimsy, too, and really hard to prop your bike up against in a stable way.
As for the clever phrasing of “contribute to the investigation and development of proposals,” yes, I spotted that too.
You mention the delivery-via-huge-lorries problem with Tesco. One recent planning application for a Tesco Local in Cambridge was turned down over concerns that delivery lorries would be unloading on the narrow main road in front of the shop, concerns that were taken more seriously when it was revealed that another nearby Tesco Local received deliveries about twice as often as its planning application had claimed.
You also mention that “it's important people without cars can get here and not spend as much money.” I can't find the link now (remind me when I get home), but a survey of shoppers showed that cyclists spend more on average than motorists, presumably because we save so much money on fuel, insurance, and car tax. We spend less per visit, as you might expect, but more overall. And don't forget how much bigger the Tesco could be if they didn't have to waste so much space on car parking. Actually, perhaps I shouldn't have said that: they might get ideas.

Tav said...

Thanks Dan H, you have just given me an idea to combine some field research, some blog material, and ways to entertain the kids when it's hot, all in one go! I have a trailer for my bicycle which the kids sit in. I've been longing to get out on my bike, so I try out the cycle lanes(?) around Kidderminster and Stourport and report back our adventures. Armed with a camera I may find some right bloopers that will make the council blush.

FlipC said...

Well I'm glad you're still there, and paying attention :-)

As it stands there's no separate cycle lane to either Tesco or Sainsbury's in Kidderminster, though Tesco does have both the river and canal paths which are shared use. I can't comment on the cycle racks themselves, IIRC the Tesco ones are close to the main route, but often hemmed in by overflow trollies; and the Sainsbury's ones are close to the pedestrian lights so no proper access there.

On the large lorry front the problem lies in direction of travel.

If they're coming from Kidderminster then unless they do a large circuit their natural route leads them to Mitton Street which is the area they're fiddling with making it narrower.

If they do come in from another directions then the can use the new link bridge via the part-built relief route of Discovery Road, but they're be running behind a proposed housing estate and having to cross against the traffic through a crossing point.

The next worrying point is they've allowed for three simultaneous lorries to be able to fit although someone asked how they're supposed to turn around, it's also a shared customer delivery access road. So if they have more deliveries they'll be blocking their own access suggesting staggered deliveries.

Interesting point about cyclists spending more. As you say less per trip, but more trips; I suspect that may be the rationale behind Tesco Express et al to grab the frequent shopper.

Do you remember the fuss that was kicked up when someone dared suggest that these larger stores pay for the privilege of providing free parking. This is why I keep suggesting we need some free timed parking on our town car-parks. We've got one free car-park, in the wrong place; and numerous parking spaces in town, along two of our one-way roads.

Sheesh just move the entrance from the Raven Street car-park to St Martin's Way where it should have been in the first place and make it a one-hour free no-return (there's only 27 spaces), then drop the road parking to half-an-hour. If you're just stopping to grab a paper etc then you're more likely to get a space on the road, need more time use the car-park, need even more time then you'll be paying at the moment anyway.