Monday, 14 March 2011

Scotforth residents give supermarket plans the red card

Scotforth residents protesting at new supermarket plans on Saturday.
Photo courtesy Councillor Emily Heath

Scotforth residents are "seeing red" over proposals to build two huge supermarkets and staged a demonstration outside Booths on Saturday.

Dressed in red, the protestors, who included elderly people, parents with young children, and residents of streets which will be badly affected by extra traffic if the supermarket plans go ahead, say they are alarmed by the proposals.

The proposed site of the new Booths
between Scotforth and Lancaster
University.
.
First submitted for consideration to the Council's planning committee last Spring, the proposals include a hotel, petrol station and large areas of car parking on the Lawson’s Bridge fields on the edge of Scotforth.

The proposals will be considered by Lancaster City Council’s planning committee within the next couple of months.

One of the proposed supermarkets would be Booths, with the possibility of another supermarket operator taking over the existing Booths store in Scotforth.

The other, much larger, superstore is proposed by a developer called Commercial Estates Projects for the fields further south. They have refused to say which company will operate the store, but residents believe that it will be Tesco or Asda because they usually able to make the highest bids. Over one third of the retail space will be for ‘comparison goods’.

“If these proposals are approved, we could soon have three supermarkets in Scotforth, which together would add up to nine times the retail space of the current Booths store," says
Green Party Councillor Emily Heath, who represents Scotforth West ward. "Lawson’s Bridge would become a large out-of-town retail park which would suck trade away from the City Centre and local shops. 

"I’m also very concerned about the severe traffic congestion which would be generated," she added. "The developers’ traffic assessments predict that by 2019 the afternoon 'rush hour' will be more like three hours long, with queues of 235 vehicles at the Boot & Shoe crossroads heading north.

"That would stretch almost as far as the entrance to the University! Buses will get stuck in these huge traffic jams, as well as cars and commercial vehicles. It will be chaos.”

Lancaster University is not opposing the plan for a new Booths, but in a response to the planning application it says it is concerned that the Traffic Assessment for the plan claims the proposed development will not have any material adverse effect on the surrounding highway authority.

"I would consider that statement to be unrealistic and misleading," noted Mark Swindlehurst, the Univerity's Director of Facilities in a letter to the City Council back in June last year. "The provision of a car park with a greater number of parking spaces than at the present Booths site on Hala Road will lead to increased car journeys being made in connection with Booths (Lancaster) as the local customer base increases.

"Furthermore, a new signalised junction on the A6 at the site entrance will certainly have an adverse effect on A6 traffic flows. This will affect the University's bus services and other commuters travelling between the University and the city centre along the A6."

Challenging the Council to reveal exactly when the Assessment was undertaken (since, if it was during University vacation, this would skew traffic estimates), the University also argues the it fails to take into account the impact its own Science Park, which has already been given planning permission, will have on traffic.

"The TA fails to mention the approved Bailrigg Science Park or any future development
possibilities at the University. The combined traffic implications of these will be significant and the TA has not considered these at all in the proposed 2015 traffic flow forecast for the A6 outside the proposed site, which again is unrealistic and misleading."

Booths claims the response to its proposals have been encouraging. In covering letter to a report on its Public Consultation, conducted in February last year, the supermarket's agents claim that out of a total of 429 replies, 85% were in support of the proposal - but even many of its supporters expressed concern at increases to traffic. Over 15,000 questionnaires were distributed within the Lancaster area.

A design for Commercial Estates Projects proposed supermarket and hotel complex on the A6, south of Lancaster.
In revised plans for its huge supermarket and hotel development, submitted earlier this month, CEP has included an economic assessment suggesting that its plans could create just over 300 jobs, arguing the area needs to reduce its reliance on public sector employment and boost provision for tourism. The company argues the scheme should be brought forward as soon as possible to help stabilise the local economy, claiming that construction stage of the development alone would inject over £22 million into the local economy.

As usual, of course, the proposal does not include any assessment of how many jobs might be lost elsewhere should the project get the go ahead.

• There is still time to comment on the planning applications. All of the documents, including the consultation responses submitted so far, can be viewed online at http://planapps.lancaster.gov.uk, and comments can be submitted there too. Enter the application reference number 10/00251/FUL (the proposed new Booths store) or 10/00366/OUT (the CEP development, further south).

Lancaster Green Party Lawson's Bridge Campaign Page

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's absolutely crazy to let yet another supermarket take over some more lovely countryside. We have far more than enough supermarkets here and we need our countryside. NO,no,no to a supermarket in Lawson's fields

Anonymous said...

The artist's impression has left out a small matter of 235 vehicles. I don't recall receiving any consultation document and I use that road a lot.

I can't imagine where they get '300 jobs' from. Anyone got a breakdown of what they are? Well, that's more traffic still.

3 supermarkets, 9 times the current retail space. Which retail assessment said that was required? Is there any real planning for the future at all in this? I don't understand why they all have to come at once. It would make more sense to add them one at a time and review.

Anonymous said...

Why stop progress,This supeermarket will create construction jobs then retail jobs,Something that is much needed in the district.

Anonymous said...

It's one thing letting Booths expand and move to a different site (which I'm generally in favour of, especially for Booths) but it's a completely different thing to allow Tesco (For That Is Who It Is) to open a new store as well as Booths moving. We just don't need it, and it would scupper Booths' plans no doubt. The reason is that, as usual, everyone would complain about it until it was actually built, and then of course everyone would shop at Tesco because it will be "cheaper". #Bangheadagainstwall

Anonymous said...

How many businesses in the town centre thrive because of the custom of Lancaster University students? Do those businesses think students would still use them if they have a store selling stuff they want - not just food but clothes, electrical goods and more - on their doorstep? Somehow I doubt it. It's really worth reading CEP's economic case for its monstrous development - it's like they tore a few pages from the Conservative manifesto to justify their unbridled greed at the expense of every Lancaster citizen. Sadly, given the track record of the City Council's planning committee when it comes to rubber stamping big commercial projects, you do have to wonder if this awful proposal can be stopped.

StarlingUK said...

"It's one thing letting Booths expand and move to a different site (which I'm generally in favour of, especially for Booths) but it's a completely different thing to allow Tesco (For That Is Who It Is) to open a new store as well as Booths moving."

Exactly what I was going to say.

We should fight Tesco at all cost, it's the nastiest supermarket chain in the country.

StarlingUK said...

"Why stop progress,This supeermarket will create construction jobs then retail jobs,Something that is much needed in the district."

That's Tesco's tune. And then they proceed to take away lots of jobs after they've opened. They kill entire towns. They're nasty.

Booths, however, is fine with me.

Anonymous said...

Look at Preston, it has incredible numbers of people visiting its town centre every day from near and far! whilst up the road there is a massive retail park (Deepdale) - that people from lancaster go to every day!
I dont think that it would have a detrimental effect, those people who would have to go to preston or manchester to the nearest retail park would go to Scotforth road thus strengthening the local economy.

I think the real issue is getting attracting people into lancaster city centre, because lets face it, its a bit Crap!

Anonymous said...

People who work in Preston shop in Preston in their lunch hours. because it is convenient. And actually has a functioning market. They live in Lancaster because it exponentially nicer to live in Lancaster than Preston. Preston struggles with unemployment, crime, prostitution and drug trafficking. Anyone who can afford to gets out. The town centre is a characterless assortment of soulless chainstores, that have destroyed local enterprise. A lot of miserable minimum wage dead end shelf-stacking jobs are not a good replacement for real local businesses that support families and give people self-respect and hope for the future.

Anonymous said...

If anybody is interested, there is going to be a meeting held on sunday at 4.30pm in the gregson community centre on moor lane with a view to organising a protest on the 3rd of may (the day the planning applicacation is decided on)outside the Town Hall at 9.30am.
Its a disgrace that this is being advertised as a green development and that they claim it will alleviate traffic not make it far worse! ring the company planning it on 08448425270, they don't know anything! The company who did the dubious market research are called Brian G Hall associates if anybody is interested. Also with a 'green' development of this nature, its obviously Tesco wanting to build another big store and further greenwashing their terrible image! Only Tesco could be this wantonly misleading and confusing.
Also 14 march 17.50 anonymous man/woman, great idea... short term construction jobs for long term city destruction? yeah, what a fantastic plan, I can see no down sides to that...
Gregson centre, sunday 4.30 or Tuesday 9.30am Town Hall, join us in saying no to this development, we don't want to live in an empty homogenised Tescotown!