Text of letter from the Society to SMBC Planning re. Marina application

The Knowle Society has written to the Head of Design and Development, Mr. G. Palmer, regarding the Stripes Hill Marina application and the text of that letter is reproduced here.

STRIPES HILL FARM MARINA (2009/494)

We are glad that this application will now be considered on the basis of a full planning application, it is important that both marina applications are considered on an equal basis. I would like to reiterate and expand our views of this application as outlined in my letter of 1st August.

We object to this application on the following grounds:-

– The loss of Green Belt land and the impact on the surroundings of Knowle Locks.

This area below Knowle Locks is much appreciated by the residents of and visitors to Knowle. The applicant asserts that the proposed development meets the requirements for being a suitable development in the Green Belt as permitted by the ‘special circumstances’ conditions. Regardless of this, it is our view that it would constitute a development that would cause harm to the Green Belt in an area where its impact would be very obvious.

In addition to the simple fact of its presence, the planned size of the development and the ‘massing’ of the boats and the support facilities are such that they would form a very noticeable development, replacing an area of undeveloped landscape.

– The proposed entrance to the access road off the Warwick Road is unsatisfactory and unsafe.

The location of this entrance is close to the bottom of Stripes Hill. While this stretch of road is subject to a 40mph speed limit, residents and councillors will be very aware that this is honoured more in the breach than the observance. The applicant’s own survey in the transport supporting statement shows that 63% of southbound traffic (coming down the hill) exceeds 40mph and 5% exceeds 50mph. This situation must be acknowledged. The entrance, even with the proposed widening, will not allow a vehicle coming down the hill to move entirely off the road if a vehicle is waiting to exit the site. You will of course be aware that this exit will be used not only for the proposed marina, but also for Stripes Hill Farm and that it lies directly opposite the access to Lansdowne Farm. We propose that a short exit lane is built on the north side of the entrance, where there is space available, to allow traffic to pull out of the running lane.

We now know that permission has been given for the continued use of a building at Stripes Hill Farm itself as storage for imported furniture. This will involve the delivery of the goods by articulated vehicles, which will be using the same entrance off the Warwick Road as marina users. This must necessarily increase the hazard for cars wishing to access the marina site, as these large vehicles will block the entrance, causing cars to stop on the Warwick Road.

– We are also concerned that the promoters of the marina have indicated on their web-site (http://www.knowlelocksmarina.co.uk/facilities.html) that:-

“We also hope to include the following: – Brokerage office and boats to view for new and second hand boat sales – A resident boat hire fleet with booking office”

This indicates a significant increase in the commercial activities on the site, which in itself would change the character of the development. The latter proposal would also indicate a significant increase in traffic flow into the site, especially on Sundays, when the base flow would be highest anyway. It would also go against the statement in the application that:-

“Access: Access to the site will be restricted to marina users only. Gates are to be placed near the entrance to the marina which can be opened only by key fob or by staff on site. The site is not to be made available for access to the general public in order to ensure site security and health and safety.”

(http://www.solihull.gov.uk/PlanAppDocs/2009/0494/0494_site_management_pl…)

We acknowledge the information from the developers that the site will be ‘for marina users only’. However this category will necessarily include visitors who are looking to hire, or have hired, boats thus increasing the number accessing the site, all through the one unsatisfactory entrance. In addition the developers have now suggested that use of part of the proposed chandlery building could be used for exhibitions to be ‘used, via prior appointment, by local groups and schools to promote water safety and marine education’. These all point to encouragement for increased use of the site and therefore the access off the Warwick Road.

– The application includes a statement that residential use of the site is to be restricted to 2 boats for use of staff. If planning permission is granted we would ask that this be made a legally enforceable condition, as mentioned in the above site management plan. There should also be a responsibility placed on the operators of the site to demonstrate to the Council that the condition is being met at any and all times.

I trust these objections and observations will assist your Committee in their deliberations.

Leighton Jones Chairman, Knowle Society Planning Committee

Copy to:-

Councillor Diana Holl-Allen; Councillor Jeff Potts; Councillor Alan Rebeiro

Initial Response to Jacobean Moorings (Marina) Application

We have now made a formal response to the outline application for a marina at Jacobean Lane.

This letter has been sent to Solihull Council and Knowle Councillors recording The Knowle Society’s objections to the second marina. These are: Impact on the Green Belt; Effect on the setting of Grove Farm, a listed building; Impact on views (amenity) for those using the towpath and public footpath through the site; Traffic, particularly at the Jacobean Lane/Warwick Road junction.

JacobeanLaneLetter

Initial Response to Stripes Hill Marina Application

We have now made a formal response to the outline application for a marina at Stripes Hill.

This response cannot be a full one because the application was only in outline, however it has been submitted to SMBC’s planning committee for consideration. We are now working on our response to the Jacobean Lane Marina application. We have requested that SMBC considers both together and approves at most only one. Follow the home page link to Planning and then to Planning Applications.

StripesHillMarinaLetter

Sainsbury store proposal in Dorridge

How is The Knowle Society planning to be involved in the discussions concerning this proposed development?

A planning application is expected to be submitted to Solihull MBC in the near future for the construction of a supermarket for Sainsbury in Dorridge. This has been widely mentioned in the press and a public consultation meeting has been held. At these it has been explained that the proposal will involve the replacement of Forest Court and the incorporation of the large car park behind into the store.

As this development is in Dorridge, it is outside the area which Knowle Society normally considers to be of direct interest. However it seems clear that the development has the potential to impact on the success of shops in Knowle and that much of the traffic attracted by the store is very likely to pass through Knowle. On this basis we have decided to pay close attention to these aspects and have accordingly met with representatives of Sainsbury to ensure that we are fully aware of the progression of their planning. This contact is being continued, especially as regards the routes to be followed by lorries supplying the store. It seems at the moment that these will pass through Knowle by some route. It will not be possible to see what effect we have had on the proposals until the planning application has been submitted. When this happens we will have another very large list of documents to understand before we can make our submission to the Council.

The plans as they were at the time of the public consultation in 2008 can be viewed by pasting this URL into your web browser:
www.sainsburysdorridge.co.uk/index.html
We understand that some changes have been made to the plans since that time.

Waitrose in Knowle

Update on The Knowle Society’s understanding of the proposal to develop a Waitrose store in Knowle.

It is general knowledge that a development company, acting on behalf of Waitrose (part of The John Lewis Partnership) is intending to submit an application for a Waitrose food store in Knowle.

Representatives of Knowle Society have had two preliminary meetings with the person in charge of this scheme, in which we were told (in confidence) of their interest in the development. At that stage the plans were no more than general thoughts. We were told that they would not normally have approached us at that stage as their plans were not advanced enough, but they felt that the news about the Sainsbury plans required them to do so.

We have had a second meeting to see how their plans were developing and this enabled us to comment on aspects we were not comfortable with. However there was nothing concrete enough for us to comment publicly upon.

Even though the news about the intention to build the store is now public we do not have solid enough information to comment upon. We are awaiting further contact with the company and will ensure that Members of the Society are given any information as soon as possible.