Decision day edging closer for McDonald’s and Starbucks plans

Starbucks and McDonald's are set to come to the Willow Brook Centre.

A planning application for proposed development at Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook shopping centre that could see McDonald’s and Starbucks outlets opening at the site is approaching the point at which a decision could soon be made, the Journal can reveal.

The proposed scheme includes two drive-through food and drink units and two additional (non-food) retail units within the existing boundaries of the site.

The two drive-throughs (which will also include dine-in facilities) would be erected to the north-east of the site, on land which currently comprises car parking – part of which is currently occupied by the Waves hand car wash facility.

The two (non-food) retail units would be added to the end of the existing retail terrace, beyond the Poundstretcher store, also on land that is currently used for car parking.

Originally submitted in March, the planning application attracted a large number of public comments in relation to the food and drink units.

Bradley Stoke Town Council (one of many statutory consultees) voted unanimously to object to the application and South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) environmental protection team also raised “serious concerns” over the potential impact on nearby housing.

A statement provided by SGC in May noted the high level of comments received and said that this was likely to require “ongoing discussions with the applicant”.

Noting that the proposed development would reduce the number of car parking spaces at the centre, an SGC transportation officer later raised concerns over the submitted travel plan, saying it did little to discourage employees at the centre from driving to work, given that they are exempt from the four-hour parking limit.

New documents submitted by the applicant over the summer have included a revised soft landscaping plan and a revised framework travel plan.

Asked for an update on the status of the application, an SGC spokesperson said:

“We have received an objection from one of our tree officers regarding impact on a tree that has a tree protection order in place, along with further concerns about noise from our environmental health officer (EHO). The applicant’s acoustic consultant is preparing further information from a comparable site, the results of which are yet to be submitted for assessment by the EHO.”

“When these matters have been fully addressed officers will prepare a report for the Circulated Schedule. We anticipate that officers will be in a position to do this in the next couple of weeks.”

The Circulated Schedule process allows council members to consider the decision recommended by officers and gives them the opportunity to “call in” the application for consideration at committee.

Willow Brook Centre expansion masterplan (annotated extract).

Above: Masterplan submitted by the applicant (annotations added by the Journal; refer to planning application for definitive documents).

• Planning application reference: PT18/1491/O

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 4). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

Postscript (22nd October 2018)

A recent decision by Conservative-led South Gloucestershire Council to overhaul its procedures for dealing with planning applications, which comes into effect on 1st November 2018, means that local residents will no longer be allowed to attend the site inspection meeting (where one is deemed necessary). The new procedures also make it less likely that the planning application will ‘called in’ be determined by a committee of council members (rather than a single council officer), since three councillors must now submit a request for this to happen.

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