Local Groups join to lobby decision makers
A meeting was held 17th July 2008 between representatives of The Highams Park Forum, The Highams Park Society, and The Highams Park Residents Association to discuss a combined response to the Tesco development proposals showcased in the Library during the period 3rd - 5th July.
The majority feeling of that meeting (though not unanimous) was that the groups should work with Tesco to improve the proposal rather that to flatly oppose it. There were some positive things in the proposal but also some significant negatives. The groups should try to mitigate the negatives and maximise the positives. Key points from the meeting were, in no particular order:
- Trading Hours - Opposed to 24 hour trading, suggest no later than 8.00pm Mon - Thurs and 10.00pm Friday & Saturday.
- Servicing hours should have time restrictions to avoid busy times eg school opening and closing times.
- Signing should encourage customers and service vehicles to and from the north as Winchester Road is unsuitable for traffic increases
- Do not want a chemist, dry cleaners, PO, filling station or takeaways on the site.
- Tesco should implement a low lease scheme in the small shop units to encourage local shop keepers.
- Tesco should pay towards additional street cleaning
- Density of housing is too high; not enough amenity space, buildings too high, particularly at the front, and would prefer architecture more in keeping with neighbourhood, eg Selwyn Ave.
- Concern about impact of new residents on school places and health facilities.
- Would like more public space and community hall similar in size to, for example, Theydon Bois village hall
- Suggestion that shops at the northern end of the Broadway could be demolished to provide wider linkage between the store and The Broadway.
- Concern about how residential parking will be controlled. Planning policies requires low provision of car parking, but this can lead to increased pressure for parking in rest of Highams Park.
- Tesco should give undertaking to provide energy efficient development; building with sustainable materials and should aim to be carbon neutral.
- Store should become a 'showcase' design which would give good publicity to Tesco.
- Tesco should give an undertaking that they will 'locally source' produce.
- There was confusion over the height of the store. Tesco reps suggested it was significantly lower than the previous proposal (which was considered too tall) but examination of the plans seems to suggest it is the same height. Which is correct?
- There was confusion over the proximity of the store to Larkshall Road. The model showed the existing trees fronting Larkshall Road. Examination of the plans suggests that the store is closer to Larkshall Road than the previous proposal. If correct this would mean cutting back trees and creating a canyon effect on the road.
- The existing trees should be protected.
Of all the points above, the issue of housing density was the most mentioned by all persons attending and by persons contacting the three societies. There was the feeling that this was akin to the type of estates that were built in decades past and are now being demolished due to the social problems they generate.
It is understood that Tesco will be submitting a detailed (not outline) planning application to the Council in August. Representatives of the combined residents groups will accept Tescos offer to meet and discuss the above points on either 11th or 12 August.
When the plans are submitted (and depending on the Tesco response to the groups' concerns) representatives of the groups will meet with council officers and GLA representatives.
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