Agenda item

Attleborough: Sainsbury's Supermarket: Extension to existing supermarket, reconfiguration of car park/access/egress & demolition of existing Petrol Station for Sainsbury's Supermarket Ltd: 3PL/2009/0089/F & 3PL/2009/0090/CA (Agenda Item 9)

Report of the Development Services Manager.


Mrs D Irving, Mr P Francis and Mr A Stasiak declared a personal interest in this item.


This full application for an extension to Sainsbury’s store was accompanied by a Conservation Area consent application for the demolition of the petrol filling station on site, which fell partly within the Conservation Area.  The two applications were considered together.


The extension would allow for the rearrangement of the internal sales area and provide a two storey back-up area including a mezzanine floor for staff facilities and an unloading bay for deliveries.


The current two-point access and egress arrangements would be changed to provide a single point of access to the east of the site.  Five additional parking spaces would be provided.


No details of the landscaping proposals for the site frontage had been provided but an indicative plan showed a wall, ironwork and planting which would give a soft edge to the site.


The Highways Authority had no objections subject to conditions and a S106 agreement for the provision of a transport plan and its future monitoring.


The Town Council objected strongly on several grounds, particularly highway safety.  They were concerned that the new single access point was located at a narrow part of the road where no right turn feeder lane could be accommodated and also close to an existing Pelican crossing which could cause tail-backs and conflict between users and vehicles.  The existing pedestrian refuge in the access road had been omitted and there was no pedestrian crossing facility shown there. 


They were also concerned about the effect on the street scene of the loss of the petrol filling station and asked for a site visit by the Committee.


Officers had considered the issues and felt that the extension was in line with Government guidance.  There would be minimal overlooking or impact on neighbouring properties.  Their main concern was the treatment of the street frontage.  Soft landscaping was not considered appropriate as the sense of enclosure, created by the petrol filling station’s canopy, would be lost.


Members were asked to defer the application if they were minded to approve it to enable further negotiation, or otherwise indicate their views.


The Development Services Manager clarified that Members had various alternatives available.  They could refuse the application; they could agree the principle of the development and allow officers to negotiate changes under delegated authority; or they could defer it and require it to be brought back.


He mentioned that Mr Higgins was in attendance from the Highways Authority to answer any questions. 


Mr McGrath, the Agent, had thought that the application was going to be recommended for refusal and was in attendance to ask for it to be deferred for negotiations on the frontage treatment.  He said the principle accorded with policy and that Sainsbury’s were looking at alternative provision for a filling station within the town.


Mr Stasiak, Ward Representative, agreed that deferral was a sensible way forward.  He asked how big the extension was in percentage terms and the agent advised that it would increase the store size by about one third.


Mr Stasiak felt that the additional parking provision was inadequate for such a large extension.  He was also concerned that existing traffic problems would be exacerbated by the changes.  He reminded Members that there had been a major debate at the time of the original application for the store because it meant the removal of the old Council offices.  Finally he hoped Members would attend for a Site Visit and see that the proposed bus stop siting was in an unsuitable location.


A Member wondered why the store was at the back of the site.  He felt it would have been better positioned to the front and was concerned that the extension to the rear would have an adverse impact on neighbouring properties with a nine metre wall right on their garden boundaries.


Another Member felt there were several major issues. 

-        The former Council offices that had been knocked down to accommodate the store had been a major feature and there had been a great deal of discussion at the time about how to replace it.  This was the reason there was a slate roof to the petrol station canopy to create a feature to maintain the frontage which would now be lost.

-        Access problems; no filter lane for traffic meant it would be impossible to turn right.

-        Pedestrian crossing provision at the access point.

-        Overdevelopment of the site.


The Chairman asked Mr Higgins to explain why there was no filter lane for traffic turning right into the store.  He agreed that there was currently a partial right hand turn facility but said it did not work well.  The new access would not have a filter, but this was an acceptable form of junction in a town centre.


Members were concerned that the new access arrangements would cause danger to road users and pedestrians alike. 


The Chairman asked the agent for his comments and Mr McGrath said that Sainsbury’s would not have a car park that did not work as it would affect their profitability.  He said the extension would not necessarily lead to more people using the store.  The aim was to get current users to spend more by making the experience more pleasurable.  He added that they wanted to invest in the Town at a difficult time.


RESOLVED to refuse planning permission and conservation area consent on grounds of:


(1)               Effect on neighbours;

(2)               Failure to enhance the Conservation Area by loss of frontage building; and

(3)               Unacceptable changes to the access arrangements from the highway.


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