Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

Permission granted for McDonald’s and Starbucks drive-throughs at Willow Brook

Posted on Thursday 16th January 2020 at 7:00 pm by SH (Editor)

Willow Brook Centre: Appeal allowed; planning permission granted.

Bradley Stoke looks set to get two new drive-through and sit-in fast food restaurants after a planning inspector allowed an appeal against South Gloucestershire Council’s decision to refuse permission for development at the town’s Willow Brook shopping centre.

The inspector’s decision means that ‘full’ permission has been granted for a two-storey McDonald’s restaurant and a single-storey Starbucks coffee shop, both to be located on the northern edge of the centre’s car park, approximately where the Waves hand car wash is currently positioned.

‘Outline’ permission has also been granted for two extra units to be added on the end of the centre’s existing ‘retail terrace’ (i.e. beyond the Poundstretcher store) and an associated reconfiguration of the car park and access road.

The application was strongly opposed by local residents in Wheatfield Drive and Dewfalls Drive, where the closest residential property is just 22m away from the proposed Starbucks outlet.

Bradley Stoke Town Council also registered an objection to the scheme following a unanimous vote at its Planning Committee. The application was subsequently rejected by two different planning committees at South Gloucestershire Council before being taken to appeal by the owners of the Willow Brook Centre.

Alongside the perceived impact on residential amenity, the local authority’s grounds for refusal were that the development was contrary to national planning policy because it “fails to promote the economic, social and environmental character of the area”.

The planning inspector’s seven-page report concludes:

“Whilst I understand the apprehension of local residents, there is no substantive evidence to justify the dismissal of the appeal on the grounds of harm to living conditions or any other grounds that have been raised. For these reasons I conclude that the appeal should be allowed.”

We’ll have more information about the decision and feedback from interested parties in our February magazine, delivered 1st/2nd February.

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Might golf course homes scheme now resurface?

Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019 at 7:22 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of the entrance to Woodlands Golf & Country Club, from Trench Lane.

A development company’s promotion of Woodlands Golf Course as a potential site for up to 2,000 new homes could be given renewed impetus following the news that a strategic housing plan has effectively been thrown out by government inspectors.

South West Strategic Developments Ltd (SWSD) put forward the Trench Lane site as a candidate for large-scale housing development when the first draft of the West of England’s Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) was being formulated in 2015. It failed to make the final version of the document, but SWSD contested the rationale behind that decision and continued to push for the site to be included after the JSP entered its ‘examination in public’ stage.

SWSD also submitted a second proposal, for a smaller development of 500 homes at Woodlands. This alternative plan would see one of the two golf courses retained. However, it was emphasised that this was being put forward “without prejudice” to its efforts to have the larger scheme included.

Local Conservative councillors John Ashe and Roger Avenin have voiced strong opposition to the Woodlands proposals, claiming that the development, if allowed to go ahead, would cause considerable problems for residents and businesses in Bradley Stoke. They also promoted a petition against the proposals in the run up to the local elections in May.

With the JSP inspectors now questioning the rationale used by the four West of England councils in selecting the final list of strategic development locations for inclusion in the plan, it looks likely that previously rejected sites will have to be re-evaluated.

More: Comment from SWSD on JSP inspector’s findings »

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West of England councils told to start again on strategic housing plan

Posted on Monday 14th October 2019 at 9:10 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Cllr Brian Allinson holding JSP consultation documents.

A masterplan that defines the strategy for delivering 105,000 new homes across the West of England by 2036 lies in tatters after government inspectors recommended that it should be rewritten from the ground up.

The Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) was worked on by the councils of Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire over a period of more than three years, prior to being submitted to the government in April 2018.

Its purpose is to provide a strategic, overarching vision and framework to help deliver the number of new homes, land for employment purposes and the supporting infrastructure that it is anticipated will be needed over the next 20 years.

One of the main purposes of the JSP is to identify so-called strategic development locations (SDLs) which have the potential to deliver large scale development (500+ dwellings) over the plan period.

A large number of SDLs were identified in an ‘issues and options’ consultation that was put out to the public in November 2015. These were finally whittled down to a list of twelve sites by the time the JSP was submitted for examination by government inspectors last year.

The chosen SDLs in South Gloucestershire are the proposed Buckover Garden Village (Tortworth) along with sites in Charfield, Coalpit Heath, Thornbury and Yate.

A proposed development of 2,000 new homes on the site of Woodlands Golf Course, near Bradley Stoke, didn’t make it into the final list.

But the two government-appointed inspectors who have been examining the JSP for “soundness” over the past 16 months have now dropped a bombshell by stating that they have “significant concerns” over the way the twelve SDLs were selected.

More: Councils urged to return to the drawing board »

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Parties submit cases in McDonald’s appeal

Posted on Friday 4th October 2019 at 8:34 am by SH (Editor)

Willow Brook Centre: Planning appeal in progress.

The parties involved in the Willow Brook Centre’s appeal against a decision to refuse planning permission for additional development at the town centre site have been making their final written submissions to the Planning Inspectorate.

The centre wants to build two new drive-through food and drink units (foreseen to be occupied by McDonald’s and Starbucks) and is also seeking outline permission to add two new units to the existing retail terrace (beyond Poundstretcher), with an associated reconfiguration of the car park.

The proposals have proved controversial because of the proximity of the drive-through units to residential properties in Wheatfield Drive, with the single-storey Starbucks being just 22m away from the nearest dwelling. The adjacent two-storey McDonald’s building would be 50m distant.

The centre has taken the case to appeal after two different planning committees at South Gloucestershire Council refused permission on the grounds that allowing it would result in “a harmful concentration of food and drink uses resulting in a prejudicial impact on residential amenity due to noise, general disturbance, fumes, smells, and late night activity”. It was also ruled that the proposals “fail to promote the economic, social and environmental character of the area”.

Following on from the submission of the appellant’s ‘statement of case’ (reported in a previous article), an ‘appeal statement’ has now been submitted by consultants acting on behalf of the council.

The two parties have also agreed a ‘statement of common ground’, which confirms that the reasons for refusal relate only to the two proposed food and drink units, i.e. the proposed retail terrace expansion is acceptable to the council.

In the statement, the council confirms that the general principle of building two drive-through food and drinks units at some location within the town centre site is acceptable. It is also agreed that proximity to schools does not relate to any aspect of the reasons for refusal.

The parties are also agreed that “the proposals would not be harmful based on the number and distribution of food and drink units at the Willow Brook Centre or wider area of Bradley Stoke”.

More: Proposals "break the consolidated form of the shopping centre" »

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