Rather late in the day, I’m afraid (Rachel and I spent most of the evening trying to book a holiday), but here is the letter received by Town Councillors earlier in the week. As always, I’d appreciate you comments. For information – as I said in my bit on the Town Council meeting, it takes 8 councillors to vote to change existing policy, so it’s not surprising that a motion didn’t come forward.
The Shipston Meeds a Supermarket website can be found here.
Planning Application reference 12/000403/OUT – Land North of Campden Road, Ainscough Strategic Land (ASL)
Following the presentations by ASL and Warwickshire County Council at the last meeting of the Town Council, I am writing on behalf of Shipston Needs a Supermarket and Petrol Station (SNAS), to all town councillors to urge the Town Council to adopt a motion at its next meeting on Monday 13th August in support of the planning application by ASL for a supermarket, petrol station, ‘extra care’ retirement homes and residential dwellings on the Campden Road.
By adopting a motion in support of this planning application the Town Council will be carrying out its duty to act in the best interests of the town and represent the wishes of its people. We understand that 60% of submissions to the Council from local residents are in favour of the proposal. Responses to all forms of consultation have been overwhelmingly positive. In deciding on your response to the presentations at the last meeting we would urge you to consider the following benefits of the proposal:
1) It would bring affordable shopping and petrol to Shipston
It is accepted by all sides that retail surveys show that 70% of Shipston residents do their main shopping outside of Shipston. The proposed supermarket on the Campden Road would be easily accessible for people living in Shipston and neighbouring villages. Unlike the situation now, it would make it possible for local residents to do their main weekly shopping at affordable prices in Shipston and combine this with buying petrol locally, shopping and using services in the town centre. We believe that there is no prospect of a petrol station opening in Shipston without a supermarket.
2) It would boost employment by providing at least 200 jobs – both full-time and part-time
Many people in the town support the proposal because of the jobs and investment that it will bring into the town.
3) It would provide 130 much needed ‘extra care’ residential homes fully supported by Warwickshire County Council
As outlined by Tim Willis at the Town Council meeting, this exactly meets the need for modern, independent living for our increasingly elderly population with care support according to need. It is the most suitable site in the town – indeed almost certainly the only site – for such a development and residents will be as close as possible to the town centre with a regular bus service. It will also bring in much needed additional GP resources and could provide an alternative means of funding the Health and Well Being Park or an alternative expansion of GP resources.
4) It provides an opportunity to boost trade and services in the town centre
We believe that a supermarket of the size proposed would co-exist with the Co-ops and independent retailers just as in Stow as shown by retail surveys. The proposal is for a mainly food supermarket with no pharmacy or restaurant/café. Signage on the roads and space in the lobby of the supermarket could be used to market the town as a gateway to the Cotswolds. Visitors and day trippers who now pass Shipston by could be encouraged to turn off for the supermarket and/or petrol and explore Shipston’s excellent range of independent shops, pubs, tea rooms, cafés and restaurants. We would also urge the Town Council to follow the example of Southam where the Town Council negotiated directly with the developers to secure additional funding for the Town Centre. According to ASL it would be possible to bring in up to £500,000 to help new businesses start up, shop renovation, help with business rent and rates etc.
5) It would meet housing targets and would prevent the need for the Council to approve housing on unsuitable smaller sites in the town
If this application is approved it will meet Council housing targets including affordable housing provision. It would provide a basis for rejecting applications on small gap sites which are often too close to existing housing or are unsustainable for reasons connected with flood risk, transport, height, unsuitable land etc.
6) It could bring at least £1.7 million of community benefits to the town
The Town Council has an opportunity to seek to ring fence as much of the s106 money as possible for the town. For example this money could be directly targeted at Shipston’s schools, medical facilities, the Queen’s Avenue play area, or to take up ideas such as a riverside park and river crossing. This is a one-off opportunity for investment in the infrastructure of the town that should not be missed.
7) It presents an opportunity to address the problem of the B4035/A429 Portobello junction
We urge the Town Council to require improvements to this dangerous junction alongside the planning application. ASL are willing to discuss this with the County Council but, to date, the County Council has not responded.
For all the above reasons we urge you, as our Town Councillors, to support this application.
SNAS Steering Group