Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Golden Key - Greene King appeal - our response

Over the last few months, the Labour councillors for Rushmere and St John’s Ward and also our Labour team in Bixley Ward have received numerous letters and emails informing us that local residents are against the planning application for development and change of use of the Golden Key pub in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich

Two planning applications submitted by Greene King have been refused by the local council, but now Greene King have appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

Below is the letter that has been submitted by your local councillors on behalf of residents.

The Planning Inspectorate
3/09 Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay

Planning Appeal Reference Number: APP/R3515/A/12/2174644/NWF

Dear Sir/Madam

As Ipswich Borough Councillors for Rushmere and St John’s wards, and the Suffolk County Councillor for St John’s Division, we have received considerable communication from local residents in respect of the two recent planning applications for development and change of use at the Golden Key, the refusal of the second of which the applicants are now appealing. The representation from local residents has been overwhelmingly against the planning application. As local residents ourselves, and in support of the arguments put forward by objectors to the original applications, we would like to reply to each of the areas on which Greene King has appealed the refusal notification from Ipswich Borough Council.

Grounds of Appeal 1: Appeal proposal will not have any unacceptable impact in respect to highway safety and will not lead to substantial vehicular traffic, and is therefore not contrary to policy DM17 of the Core Strategy 2011.

• The proposed store is located with its sole access onto Woodbridge Road which has two lanes of eastbound traffic at that point and one lane of westbound traffic in the process of becoming two lanes. Drivers of vehicles passing the access point are already forced to be aware of vehicles which are changing lanes in front of them and behind them, and of vehicles which are entering and exiting the adjacent petrol station. Drivers of vehicles entering or exiting the site will need to negotiate three streams of traffic which are in the process of changing lanes.

• The access point is dangerously close to the mini-roundabout junction between Woodbridge Road (A1214), Rushmere Road which gives access to the estates in the North-East of Ipswich, and Cauldwell Hall Road, which is the main north-south route within the inner-suburban area of East Ipswich. The traffic entering the junction from Cauldwell Hall Road is not visible from the access to the site and consequently there is a very real danger of collision.

• Woodbridge Road is the main artery between Ipswich town centre and East Suffolk. It also provides important access to Ipswich town centre for the highly populated areas of Kesgrave and Martlesham. In addition to very heavy peak time flows of private cars and commercial vehicles, it also carries the greatest number of bus services in the area.

• It provides an important link between the hospital and the town centre, and is one of the most frequently used routes for ambulances.

• Zebra crossings have been installed around the tightly configured roundabout in recent years to allow easier crossing for pedestrians as a direct result of the heavy flows of traffic and concerns over safety.

• The plans for development of the site for a supermarket include improvements to the car park and an allocated area for deliveries. It is thus clear from the application that the applicant is expecting, and has planned for, greater vehicular use than the present use of the site.

• A typical visit to a supermarket will be shorter than that to a public house, which will clearly increase the number of vehicular movements. This will be particularly true for the proposed ATM.

• As a local public house, one of the chief attractions of the Golden Key is that local patrons can visit it and drink without having to drive there and thus do not need to restrict their alcohol intake. Most of the regular patrons do not drive to the Golden Key.

• Most of the vehicles which leave the Golden Key car park do so on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, or after 9pm. Vehicles exiting a convenience store are far more likely to coincide with rush hour traffic, adding to already high levels of congestion and concerns over safety.

Grounds of Appeal 2: The appeal proposal will provide a retail facility in an established and identified district centre to serve the needs of the local community.

• The needs of the local community are already well served. Local residents have a range of small supermarkets within short walking distance, including two Cooperative stores, a Spar and a number of smaller retailers. Several specialist independent retailers also exist in the parade of shops nearby, including a well used
butcher, a baker and a greengrocer.

• Local residents also benefit from frequent bus services to the major retailers in the town centre and to out-of-town superstores in Martlesham and Warren Heath.

• The overwhelming response from the local community is that they do not need this additional retail space, nor do they want it.

• Several of the smaller retail businesses have expressed their expectation that they will be forced to close if they lose further trade to a chain outlet.

Grounds of Appeal 3: This is an appropriate location for the proposal which will provide new investment, job creation and additional choice for residents in Woodbridge Road District Centre.

• This is not an appropriate location for the proposal, given the considerable concern about the increase in vehicular movements and the impact on traffic and road safety.

• A new outlet for a chain retailer in this location is likely to cause more job losses from the closure of local small businesses than it creates of itself. Small independent businesses employ almost exclusively local residents, whereas a significant proportion of the profits of a chain outlet flow out of the local community. Local residents have raised concerns with me about the negative impact of the proposed development on local businesses and loss of associated jobs within the local community.

• Local residents already have a wide range of choice from both small independent retailers and small supermarkets. Residents have highlighted their concern that by forcing the closure of other local businesses the proposal will reduce consumer choice.

Grounds of Appeal 4: The LPA’s reason for refusal is not based on any evidence or support from the Highway Authority and will effectively sterilise any future development of the site.

Residents have recently expressed concerns over traffic monitoring equipment that has been attached to road furniture on Woodbridge Road near the junction by the Golden Key public house. No notification of the survey was provided to local residents and they have expressed their concern that the data collected might be used to support an appeal by Greene King.

• During the period that the traffic monitoring was being undertaken, traffic along Woodbridge Road was very significantly reduced as a result of road works.

• The data was collected during a period of lighter seasonal traffic (in part related to school exam leave periods).

• It is uncertain whether traffic monitoring data was collected during rush hour traffic periods.

• The Borough Council’s engineers, acting as agents for the Highway Authority, have long-term experience of the dangers and difficulties inherent in the various junctions and radial routes in Ipswich. They were fundamentally opposed to this application for the reasons stated in my response to Ground 1.

• Objections on highways grounds will not “sterilise” the site but will simply limit any development to purposes which do not significantly increase the level of vehicular traffic.

As Borough and County Councillors for the area, we would like to:

• Represent the views of residents within our wards by lodging our strong objections to the plans by Greene King PLC.

• Request that any inspection of the site be made during rush hour traffic during school term time to ensure that the inspector can judge the safety impact any increase in vehicle movements into and out of this access is likely to have during this critical period.

• Be informed in advance of the inspection date and time so that we can observe the process and thus reassure residents that their concerns are being addressed.

Yours faithfully,

Alasdair Ross
Ipswich Borough Councillor, Rushmere Ward

Tracy Grant
Ipswich Borough Councillor, Rushmere Ward

Neil Macdonald
Ipswich Borough Councillor, St John’s Ward

Sandy Martin
Ipswich Borough Councillor, St John’s Ward
Suffolk County Councillor, St John’s Division


Anonymous said...

Such a shame you couldn't persuade (or perhaps didn't bother to ask) Cllr Terry to join you. That would have had the power of making the letter cross party. But then you wouldn't be able to campaign on it would you.

Anonymous said...

"As a local public house, one of the chief attractions of the Golden Key is that local patrons can visit it and drink without having to drive there and thus do not need to restrict their alcohol intake. Most of the regular patrons do not drive to the Golden Key."

The Old Times or the Fat Cat aren't exactly the other side of town are they?

Alasdair Ross said...

To answer the second point, Greene King used a similar argument stating that drinkers could use their other pub the John Bull, trouble is Greene King closed it.

On the comment why we never asked the Tory Cllrs to join us in writing the letter to the inspector
We are not sure if the local Tories are for or against the development as we have had so many mixed messages. Cllr Terry in the past has written to the inspector without asking us and then used the letter as part of a campaign (phone mast -Rushmere Hall School)

Anonymous said...

The phone mast camoaign was oorchstrated by Judy Terry and as it was successful, you lot decided to claim credit for it? The Tory campaign to save Ransomes Sports Centre was successful too.

Alasdair Ross said...

Can you show how we claimed credit for the phone mast campaign? We never claimede any credit for anything to do with the phone mast- Willing to post on here anything you can produce that does show we did!
How can Tories save Ransomes when the sports ground was not under threat?

Anonymous said...

I haven't got a copy of Tracy Grant's leaflet anymore. The one where she said she helped stop the phone mast being built. Ransomes Sports Club was under threat because Ipswich Labour planned to evict the tenants. Ipswich Conservatives stopped the eviction. How did Ipswich Labour save libraries when no libraries were under threat?

Alasdair Ross said...

So no leaflet as proof.
Please explain how the Tories stopped the eviction at Ransomes.?
Most residents would agree that the library consultation was badly managed. Very glad that Ipswich Labour was heavily involved in the protests about changes to the library service. But as reported in the local paper this week, people are concerned about how much SCC will fund libraries after 2014. But I am sure we will not find out till after the SCC elections in 2013

Anonymous said...

Alasdair, you know what was in th elatter to Rushmere residents by Tracy Grant as well as I do. She claimed credit for eweverything th eConservatives had done in Rushmere like you always do. Because th eTories made a fuss abouit the eviction Ipswich Labour did a UTurn on it. Libraries were never undwer threat and Ipswich Labour made out they were for political gain.