Every little helps people power stop Moseley Tesco ... for now

Could it be Another time round for Mixed Use scheme for Moseley 'again' despite plans being thrown out of planning.

The mixed use development, in another guise following previous unsuccessful planning applications, included a NHS health centre and GPs surgery alongside the Tesco store was thrown out of the City Council planning committee on Thursday 11th February 2011.
Councillors were worried over increased traffic congestion while behind their decisions local people were vehemently opposed with 2,000 people signing petitions opposing the plans.

The planning committee voted seven to six against the controversial plan after an hour long debate, fearing the store did not have enough parking spaces, would leave surrounding roads gridlocked and see small traders desert the village, http://www.birminghammail.net/news/top-stories/2011/02/11/people-power-stops-moseley-superstore-plan-97319-28151761/.

The plans are coming back to the Planning Committee on the 3rd March with the decision of the meeting of the 11th February which was minded to refuse deferred so "That officers be requested to explore reasons to refuse the application based on vaibility and traffic generation". The meeting of the 11th heard from planning officers who recommended approval noting that while some shops would lose trade, other would be boosted by additional visitors and also noting a detailed traffic survey by consultants Bellamy Roberts had shown that the additional traffic could be accommodated with mitigation measures, including new traffic light phasing at the main junctions.

If the decision is confirmed to refuse planning, Exmax, the developer, is likely to lodge a costly appeal to the Government planning inspector and the report going to the planning committee for the 3rd March notes that the planning committee's opposition against it's officers support for the scheme and a new traffic survey done for the deferred meeting show an appeal would likely to be successful.

A transport survey was completed on Friday 18th February for the developers which says that "the suggested reason for refusal - impacts on off and on -street parking - is unfounded and unreasonable. It is evident from the survey data that there is ample on and off street parking available to easily accommodate any visitors to the proposal who chose not to park on site".

The developers legal counsel has offered the following opinion in the report.

Prospects on Appeal
If the application is refused the prospects of an appeal being successful are overwhelming and the prospects of a full award of costs substantial. This would also be an appropriate case to make a complaint to the Council’s Standards Board and the Local Government Ombudsman as refusal of planning permission is so unjustified as to be likely to amount to maladministration.

District Auditor
It would also be open to any rate payer or council tax payer to make objection to the Council’s accounts in respect of monies paid out by way of costs following the outcome of any appeal. Such objection would be on the basis that the refusal of planning permission was so unreasonable as to be unlawful and thus the expenditure in defending the appeal and paying costs was also unlawful.

It seems for the jubilant local opposers of the scheme who celebrated the planning committee throwing out the scheme their celebrations might be short lived, not least as reports of the decision failed to note it was deferred and not refused outright. It is not to say however that everyone is opposed and I personally think the scheme has merits in a mixed use scheme providng local facilities, adding to the retail mix of Moseley and encouraging more visitors to the village while redeveloping an empty plot.

It is also unfair to suggest there is universal opposition; the partners of Wake Green Road Surgery who would benefit from a new medical centre as part of the development state in the 3rd March report that "The site represents the only realistic opportunity for the building of new surgery premises to have presented itself in the last ten years. The decision of the Planning Committee – minded to refuse - has therefore come as a great disappointment". Furthermore the Medical Centre element of the plans is fully supported by the Primary Care Trust with funding in place but PCT's are due to be scrapped in 2013 so future plans might well lose the health centre.

Meanwhile up the road in Moseley village it seems a failure to respond to a planning application for the former Moneywise Unit on the Alcester Road, Moneywise No More, has left the police with problems as residents of the proposed four storey development by Crosby Lend Lease will be able to peer into police offices next door, Moseley police unable to stop security risk apartment block.

Objections have only emerged following Crosby Lend Lease's application to renew planning permission for the scheme, which was first granted in 2008, but which due to not being raised then are not able to be considered by the planning committee.

But the planning committee was told that, unless there had been a significant change in circumstances since 2008, members had to go ahead with the original decision to approve the scheme, http://www.birminghammail.net/news/birmingham-news/2011/01/17/moseley-police-unable-to-stop-security-risk-apartment-block-97319-27997206/2/.


Anonymous said…
The so called parking survey is flawed new survey conducted by the applicant’s transportation consultants who conducted around the store on a Friday between the hours of 10am and 2pm and claims that was plenty of on street parking within 300m of the site.

This is flawed as it was done well before the rush hour started when the area is jammed packed with traffic and local residents had not yet return from work to park outside their own homes and the schools were not yet out.

If anything the lunch period must be the quietest time they could have picked to carry out the so called survey.
Mark Rowan said…
Regardless of whether it's Tesco or not, it's sad that any development which could benefit local residents should have to be refused because of fears over traffic. Surely we're not still stuck in such a stone-age mentality that the car is the only way to get around? Why didn't the planning application include proposals to improve public transport?

Now, if Tesco had offered to fund the building of a Metro extension from New Street down the Moseley Road, that'd be something worth considering...
Anonymous said…
Thank God this development has been approved.

Fact - Moseley 'Village' is not a village. It is a suburb of a major conurbation.

Fact - Moseley during the day is a dying area. ANYTHING which brings people into the area is therefore of benefit.

Fact - Many of the local shopkeepers, of which I am one, are crying out for more retail in the area. Currently, there is little, or no passing trade to speak of.

It amazes me that the archaic moseley forum should so vehemently oppose this development. The site has stood empty for many years now attracting local drunks, drug users and other unsavouries. The best Moseley forum did was to waste public money planting runner beans around the site to, 'pretty it up.'

Lets face facts, If this were a Waitrose or M & S retail unit, there would have been little, if any, opposition to the development. The main problem here is Tesco's involvement, and a few peoples snobbery attempting to evoke the masses.

Well get over yourselves! We are in a time of major economic crisis and no other major retailer is interested in the site. Forget your notions of a gated parkway to Oxford Road, or large and thriving community centre. If this development had not gone ahead, the only use it may have seen would have been a sad decline into a derelict skatepark over the coming years.

So think on, and campaign in areas where you can make a difference. Like a light in the alleyway linking St Marys Row to the public car park. Where a 60 year old woman was mugged and badly beaten two weeks ago.

Do something about that.

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