Agenda item

Proposed Extension to Tesco Store, Kingston Road, Dereham: Reference: 3PL/2007/0929/F (Agenda Item 7)

Report of the Development Services Manager.

Minutes:

The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) presented the report which concerned a proposed extension to the Tesco store in Dereham.  It was recommended that the application was approved, subject to conditions.

 

The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) explained the details of the relevant planning policies and the assessment of the application, covering the issues of need, sequential approach, retail impact, accessibility and other issues including a transport assessment and landscaping and recycling facilities.  Results of the consultations carried out were also given.

 

So far as the objection received from Morrisons store was concerned, it was considered that, given the fact that there was a lot of margin in the retail need projections for the period to 2014, the impact on the town centre and Morrisons would not be significant and that the application accorded with the requirements of Planning Policy Statement 6 (Planning in Town Centres).

 

The application incorporated a Travel Plan and it was recommended that this be subject to a Section 106 Agreement to secure its implementation and monitoring.

 

A Transport Assessment had also been submitted in support of the proposed development.  The Assessment concluded that the capacity of the local road network was sufficient to cater for increased traffic movements associated with the development, subject to improved signal control systems being installed at nearby traffic light controlled junctions.

 

The Highways Authority had concluded that it was satisfied that the installation of computer controlled traffic lights with a phased and variable operation would overcome existing problems of traffic queues at peak times and would give a significant benefit to the town.

 

It was also reported that the Highways Authority was additionally requiring a contribution from the Applicant for £15,000 to implement improvements for pedestrian and cycling facilities.  It was recommended this should be secured by a Section 106 Agreement.

 

In response to questions, the Principal Planning Policy Officer advised that not withstanding the observations from Morrisons, growth was predicted to double within the district according to national projections and that independent consultants’ advice in this regard concluded that allowing for some higher sales densities at Morrisons, there was still sufficient need to accommodate the proposal.

                                                                                                                        

Mr Hayes, a local resident, spoke against the application, on grounds of need, adverse impact on the town centre and the impact of increased traffic. 

 

The Applicant’s Agent answered various questions from members on specific details of the proposed extension.

 

In answer to another question, the Principal Planning Policy Officer advised that retail need projections were based on spending levels, not numbers of people.  Independent advice received on retail expenditure showed that there was currently a surplus of expenditure which was projected to rise year on year to 2018.

 

It was felt that the proposed upgrade to the traffic lights system should be carried out before any development of the proposed extension.

 

Another member suggested that there was a need to look at the mini roundabout at the slip road entrance to the site to improve the safety of drivers using this road, particularly to take account of increased traffic movements to and from the neighbouring business estate and the Council Offices.

 

In response to further questions, it was noted that no specific consultation had been carried out with businesses on the Yaxham Road trading estate.  However, it was considered that the Highways Agency would have considered the impact on the area as a whole and that the proposed new traffic lights system was sophisticated enough to address traffic flows across the differing times and days of the week.  It was also advised that the Norfolk County Council had asked to install CCTV on the lights to provide monitoring of the system.  It was felt this system would be a significant improvement over the existing.

 

It was also noted that evidence from the use of such traffic control systems elsewhere in the country showed the capacity of the road network increased by 20%.

 

Only two letters of objection to the proposal had been received and the Town Council had raised no objections.

 

Current evidence and projections showed there was future capacity for continued retail investment in the town over the next 7 – 10 years.

 

So far as energy conservation aspects of the proposal were concerned, the design would provide much more natural light in the store and this would be taken account in the lighting system towards greater energy efficiency.  It was also noted that the Applicant was in the process of submitting an application for the erection of a wind turbine and was looking at the potential for a combined heat and power system to improve the existing.  The use of grey water was also to be introduced.  Members suggested the Applicant could also look at the use of solar panels and ensuring all freezers had doors to conserve energy. 

 

 On the question of the proposed pharmacy, a member felt it would be important to ensure that the hours of opening were of sufficient benefit to the town.  It was noted that pharmacist hours of duty were expected to be 9am to 9pm.  The member suggested that hours of 8am to 10pm would be more beneficial to the town.

 

It was also proposed by a member that the Norfolk County Council should be asked to undertake consultation on the proposal in regard to the Transport Assessment with the businesses on the Yaxham Road trading estate.

 

RESOLVED that

<1>(1)    the application be deferred; however, the Development Services Manager be authorised to grant permission subject to:

 

(i)      conditions as to the extent of retail floorspace permitted, external materials, landscaping, parking and highway matters;

(ii)     completion of a Section 106 Agreement to provide that the new improved traffic control system is implemented prior to the proposed development;

(iii)    completion of a Section 106 Agreement to secure the contribution of £15,000 from the Applicant to Norfolk County Council to implement improvements for pedestrian and cycling facilities under the Travel Plan;

(2)    the officers be asked to negotiate with the Applicant to agree hours of operation of the proposed pharmacy and on the question of improvements to improve the safety of the mini roundabout to the site; and

(3)    a request be made to Norfolk County Council to undertake consultation with the businesses on the Yaxham Road trading estate in regard to the Transport Assessment.



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