Restaurant closure – What a surprise, NOT !!!

Fast food giant McDonald’s has closed its Waterlooville Branch

McDonald’s said it was down to ‘changing trading patterns.’

Far be it for me to point out the obvious but this closure was guaranteed to happen, from the moment that the planners gave their blessing to McDonald’s new Larchwood Road development.

McDonald’s managed to railroad our local councilors into letting them build a new restaurant alongside ASDA at Larchwood Road, Bedhampton. Despite there being objections from the Highways Agency about the extra burden on an already overloaded road system.

From McDonald’s perspective it is obvious what the advantages are for them. They have a new facility with drive thru and adjacent parking, which Waterlooville does not. Being right next to ASDA means a much higher rate of passing trade. Certainly much higher than they could ever hope for from the diminishing numbers of shoppers in Waterlooville. And then there is the drive-thru facility which the Waterlooville branch did not have. All those ASDA shoppers who, being pestered by their kids, will drop in pick up a quick burger tea on their way home.

One has to wonder just how many outlets McDonald’s need in this area. A quick check of their website shows that they have 7 within 7 miles of Waterlooville.

I feel that our councillors have let us down, once again. They are responsible for controlling developments in this area. And yet they failed to see what  the obvious effects would be, of allowing McDonald’s to proceed with the development. They should have dug their heels in and said no.

This closure is just part of the ongoing pressure being applied to turn Waterlooville town centre into a residential area while shoppers are pushed out. Squeezing the heart out of this community.

Once again the council planners have failed this community.

Restaurant closure – Local Business – Portsmouth News.

When Are We Going To Get Our Local Shops Back ?

On Saturday 16th September, 2011 our local Tesco Express was burnt out. Along with the Tesco store we also lost our pharmacy and a Chinese take-away.

The News reported Thursday 29 March, 2012 that ….

Officials at Brookton 2000 Ltd, which owns the site, said they were working up a planning application for the rebuild of Tesco and the pharmacy.

Daniel Kaye, director of Brookton 2000 Ltd, based in Chandler’s Ford, said: ‘We have a team of professionals appointed and we are working on submitting an application. Then it is in the hands of the local authority.

‘Once we get planning permission, we can look to appoint contractors.

‘Unfortunately these things take longer than members of the general public think.’

Mr Kaye said the shops would be back open in 18 months’ time at the very latest. But he said he hoped the rebuild would be sooner.

On April 8th of this year I posted about how long it was taking for any work to begin to replace the afore-mentioned business premises.

Fort Lavender
Fort Lavender

Fifteen months have gone by since the fire and nothing seems to have happened on the site.

15 months on - Our Local Shops - Lavender Road, Waterlooville
15 months on – Our Local Shops – Lavender Road, Waterlooville

The photo above shows that the roof has gone from the pharmacy and supermarket areas. The blue tarp covers some part of the chinese take-away roof where the fire brigade broke through, presumably to ensure that the fire wasn’t still burning out of sight.

Planning application has indeed been made to the council and has been approved. See APP/12/00650

The approval of the application, on 21st August, comes with some conditions.

1) The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of 3 years from the date on which this planning permission was granted.Reason: To comply with Section 51 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

So we could be waiting some time before the rebuild gets started. It would have been better from a residents perspective if the council had enforced a more stringent timetable.

3) No development hereby permitted shall be commenced until a detailed soft landscaping scheme for all open parts of the site not proposed to be hard-surfaced has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Such scheme shall specify the proposed finished ground levels in relation to the existing levels, the distribution and species of ground cover to be planted, the positions, species and planting sizes of the trees and shrubs to be planted and/or retained, and timing provisions for completion of the implementation of all such landscaping works.
The implementation of all such approved landscaping shall be completed in full accordance with such approved timing provisions. Any tree or shrub planted or retained as part of such approved landscaping scheme which dies or is otherwise removed within the first 5 years shall be replaced with another of the same species and size in the same position during the first available planting season.
Reason: To ensure the appearance of the development is satisfactory and having due regard to policies CS11, CS16 and DM8 of the Havant Borough Core Strategy 2011 which form part of the Local Development Framework and National Planning Policy Framework, March 2012.

It’s good to see that work cannot commence until the really important issues have been thrashed out. I would have thought it was more important to get a major part of the local infrastructure reinstated i.e. rebuild and reopen the stores, rather than argue over the type of shrubs to be planted.

4) The buildings shall not be occupied until space for the loading, unloading and parking of vehicles has been provided within the site, surfaced and marked out in accordance with the approved details. Such areas shall thereafter be permanently retained and used solely for those purposes.
Reason: In the interests of highway safety and having due regard to policy DM13 of the Havant Borough Core Strategy 2011 which forms part of the Local Development Framework and National Planning Policy Framework, March 2012.

This condition has me confused. The original goods entrance and specifically the area immediately in front of it appears, according to the proposed ground floor plan, to be allocated as disabled parking. If this is for the “sole” use of the disabled, where will goods vehicles load and unload ?

According to the plans there will be a new construction and entrance at the northern end of the building, immediately adjacent to Lavender Road. If that is intended to be used as the main goods entrance into the building, implying that the goods vehicles are to be parked in Lavender Road, we will have a road safety disaster on our hands. The parking of articulated lorries in this area of the road has already caused several near misses to my knowledge.

I would have preferred to have seen some provision for goods vehicle access or at the very minimum a restriction placed on the supermarket operator to only use small to medium-sized vans for the delivery of stock. It isn’t only Tesco vehicles in the past that have caused problems as I have seen articulated lorries delivering milk and bread to this site.

So, when are we going to get our local shops back ?

The pharmacy has been trying to maintain its presence by operating out of a converted industrial container. Word from the container has it that they will be returning to a proper shop around Easter 2013.

Mr Daniel Kay, that’s 20 months. not “18 months at the latest” …..  nor is it “sooner”

Some of the folks who used to work at the burnt out Tesco Express have been redeployed to Tesco’s Grassmere Way Store. Or maybe that’s Tempest Road. Not sure since Tesco can’t seem to make up their own mind according to their own web site. As we locals know Tempest Road is actually Tempest Avenue. But I digress.

Having spoken to some of the Lavender Road expats it seems that they have not heard anything about Tesco resuming operations.

Is this because Tescos will not be coming back ? If not, then who will be operating from the rebuilt store and when ?

By the way, going back to the Tesco website, they don’t seem to have noticed that their store is no longer open. They still show the Lavender Road store as being open seven days a week.

When Are We Going To Get Our Local Shops Back ?

“In a word, we’re stuffed”

So says Councillor Mike Fairhurst following last nights decision to allow 92 new homes at Scratchface Lane, Bedhampton.

Many councillors obviously feel that local councils will be held to ransom by the spending power of big businesses who due to their wealth can afford a war of attrition. They know that local councils are on tight budgets and cannot afford the costs associated with going to appeal and losing. Once central government inspectors have voted against local council decisions the flood gates are opened.

‘I’m exceedingly angry. I would reject this but I can’t. I’m up for a fight as much as the next man. I don’t like being dictated to by some bloke in Bristol (the planning inspector).

‘But I have a head as well as a heart and I ask myself what will happen if I reject this? The application will go to appeal, that’s a certainty. It’s not like we will pay the fine and not get the houses. We will get the houses anyway. In a word, we’re stuffed.’

This development will go ahead and the local residents will be the ones who pay the price.

The roads in this area are quite narrow and the egress to main exit routes already become quite congested. This development is too large for the area and any concerns about motorway noise have already been disregarded.

Jim Graham a resident of Brooklands Road, the main site access, says

This has been going on for five years now. All I can hope is that the borough does not live to regret this decision.

Mr Graham, Havant Borough Council won’t regret this decision. They will take their tariff from the developers and will happily collect the council tax from the new residents. It will be the current residents in the area that will regret this decision, who will have to put up with the additional traffic. It will be the new residents who will have to put up with the noise and the dust from the motorway.

I am afraid the council will not regret this decision, they will just move on to their next planning disaster of which they have many on the boil.

The application can be viewed at Havant Borough Councils planning pages HERE

Controversial Bedhampton homes plan approved – Environment – Portsmouth News.

My Condolences To The Bartons Farm Protesters

A few days ago protesters lost their fight to prevent the building of new homes on a site just outside of Winchester. The Government has approved the building of over 2,000 homes at Barton Farm on the edge of the city. Campaigners have been fighting for over 15 years to prevent this decision.

This decision echoes that which has allowed the West of Waterlooville development to go ahead despite local opposition.

I note that the Winchester protesters concerns very much mirror mirror my own with regard to the loss of countryside, lack of infrastructure to support the additional housing, traffic and load on utilities. Once again the developers and planners are citing the additional jobs that the development will generate.

For Bartons Farm the developers are claiming generation of 8000 jobs ???

One can only assume that they are talking about temporary jobs for the construction workers. Once the development is completed will these jobs still be available. I don’t think so.

Strangest comment comes from Mike Emett, director of Cala Homes.

On traffic Mr Emett said the 2,000 homes would reduce the congestion because fewer people would need to drive into Winchester from Eastleigh and Southampton.

Does he assume that existing Eastleigh and Southampton based work force will all up sticks and move to Bartons Farm or perhaps that they will give up their jobs, hand them over to local workers who are the new residents of this development.

It really is bizarre to suggest that an additional 2000 houses will reduce traffic congestion. Time will tell.

My condolences to the residents of Winchester and to the protesters.

Employment boost as Waterlooville business park plans are unveiled

I have been a tad busy with work for the last few weeks and have found it virtually impossible to get my head into blog mode let alone focus on local affairs. So I am sorry but this is old news but I wanted to bring it to your attention.

Finally, The News has discovered the planned development right here in Waterlooville. No not the enormous housing development known as WoW (West of Waterlooville). Even The News knows about that. No I’m referring to the development of the BAE site that I brought to your attention in my previous post

This is another of the Havant Borough Council / Portsmouth City Council/ East Hants Council job creation schemes. At least that’s what they say on paper. All of the proposed developments around Waterlooville are supposed to be creating jobs. But not one of them is being sponsored by any company that has signed up to move into the area and actually create those jobs.

The various councils will argue that you have to create the right conditions, prepare the environment to entice these erstwhile employers into the area. However, my fear is that what will be created will be empty commercial / industrial buildings.

We will have the new housing developments filled with a willing work force but no one to employ them. It is easier to build homes and to fill them than it is to get businesses started.

Just listen to the news regarding the economy and the apparent unwillingness of the banks to lend to businesses. To be quite honest I also wonder about the ability of folks to obtain mortgages to buy the new homes being built.

Employment boost as Waterlooville business park plans are unveiled – News – Portsmouth News.

Dunsbury Hill Farm – New Development Proposal Affects on Waterlooville

Today I received a letter from HBC (Havant Borough Council) pertaining to the proposed development of the Dunsbury Hill Farm site, adjacent to the A3(M).

The description of the development is as follows:

Site Address: Dunsbury Hill Farm, Park Lane, Cowplain, Waterlooville

Proposed Development: Hybrid planning application comprising a part outline application relating to employment uses and a hotel with conference  facilities and a part detailed application for a new link road with bus gate to Woolston Road; together with landscaping, infrastructure and associated works.

I am sure that they don’t intend to hide what this development really means but on first reading I was quite happy to go along with it. After all a new hotel and conference centre would not increase the daily traffic levels and road traffic noise. The additional employment opportunities that this would bring is also to welcomed.

However, without reading the actual proposal one is not likely to see what this really is. In their own words …

… proposed development of agricultural land at Dunsbury Hill Farm, Havant into a business and technology park with hotel, conference facilities and associated infrastructure

The  development proposal includes the creation of a new roundabout and potential dualling of a section of the Hulbert Road. In addition there are plans to create a new parking area double the area of the current lay-bys this development will replace. All of this is an indication of the increased traffic that the developers are anticipating.
I have lived in this area since 1985. The survey that I had on my house at the time carries a final comment

shame about the noise from the motorway

Over the years  I have become aware of the increasing noise levels and the changing nature of the noise. Waterlooville, specifically Junction 3 (J3), the junction of the B2150 with the A3(M),  has become something of a hub for the emergency services. As a result anyone living near to this junction will have noticed the increased siren activity. If recent news articles are to be believed the newly opened Hindhead Tunnel is also contributing to increased noise levels along the A3(M) due to heavy goods traffic choosing the A3(M) in preference to the M3 now that the Hindhead traffic jams have been eliminated.
The application pack includes  tables indicating noise levels. The constant theme running through the comments section is

A3 constant and dominant.

What is wrong with these tables is that they are taking noise level reading from a point on the centre line of the A3(M) into the development area and on into Calshot Road & Park Lane areas of Leigh Park. No measurements seem to have been taken from the Waterlooville side of the A3(M).

Yet this is the area that will probably be most affected by the additional traffic generated by the new development.

The location of this new development makes total sense when you consider the easy access to the motorway. Allowing traffic to clear the area very quickly.  However, the very fact that all that traffic will be coming and going via J3 of the A3(M) is going to have a negative effect on the area.

Presumably the planners are thinking that this new development will provide jobs for the soon to be residents of the Berewood (ex Newlands) development on the opposite side of Waterlooville. Did they also consider the additional traffic that will inexorably be sucked across the town ? Such traffic will also be using the J3 roundabout.

I also have other questions, ones that I have asked in other of my posts …

  1. Are there any potential tenants who have committed to take up residence of these new units when they are built ?
  2. Has a major hotel chain registered any interest in running this proposed hotel and conference centre ?
  3. Was the land adjacent to Junction 2, Horndean, considered as the site for this development ? If it was, why was it rejected since there is less potential for affecting local residents and the motorway access is just as good ?I am assuming that the answer is that the land comes under East Hampshire District Council rather than Portsmouth City Council.

I am the first to bemoan the fact that the planners don’t seem to have done much to provide employment for the residents of Waterlooville. So I am loath to be totally negative about this proposed development. However, I don’t believe that the planners have got the true measure of the impact that this development will have.

As usual the only people who will truly gain from this are the developers and, for a short while, the folks employed to carry out the construction.

Berewood Begins

The artists impressions of new developments always look idyllic. The truth of the reality is very often far from that alluring image.

Well, we the current residents of Waterlooville are about to find out the truth of what we are to be saddled with. The new development was to be called Newlands. A sign had already been put up, on the exit from the roundabout, but shortly after had been roughly painted over. Newlands was a truly uninspiring name and certainly one lacking in any imagination. The developer, Grainger, has decided on “Berewood”. A name that at least has some historical linkage with an area which was once covered by the Forest of Bere.

Development director John Beresford said: ‘We will start work next week and by September hope to have the main infrastructure in place ready for the first house builders to start work in the autumn.

‘That being the case, we would anticipate that the first dwelling will be ready to be marketed by the beginning of next year.

Then we will see the start in the rise of the traffic which is going to clog up Waterlooville. Ignoring the construction traffic and the mess that will inevitably become a bane on our lives during the build.

Even now this area of Waterlooville all but comes to a standstill during peak traffic times. With the additional housing becoming available early in 2013 this situation is only going to get worse. The difference is that there will be more folks heading into this area as they head home.

Lets not forget the new Sainsbury store that is being built on the other side of the road from this new development  as well as the new service station. All will be bringing more traffic to the area.

This is set to become one of the busiest road networks in the area what  with three major roundabouts and a set of traffic lights all within a mile.

For the sake of the new development residents, I hope the developer will ensure that there are no new roads which will become rat runs. I can see that motorists will be looking for a way to bypass this area and a new housing estate might just provide the escape route they are looking for.

The development will be built in phases, with the first one comprising 194 homes, next to the new roundabout on Maurepas Way.

There is no new roundabout here. This really is only an adjustment to the existing one. So we will see the initial phase putting 194 homes with this as there only way in and out.

Waterlooville councillor Paul Buckley said: ‘Having accepted the fact it’s going to be built, it will be good to see it actually starting.

‘In many ways they are not our homes, they are Winchester homes.

Councillor Buckley seems like someone who is resigned to the fact that an issue he is opposed to is going ahead. I’m not surprised when further into the quote he also states that these  are Winchester homes.

How does Winchester get so much of a say in what happens in our area ?

‘In terms of the economy of Waterlooville, from a commercial shopkeepers’ point of view, the town can only benefit.’

Which commercial shopkeepers would they be then. All these new residents will be rushing in their hordes to visit the charity stores, the pound shops and the cafe’s.

All of the traditional shops are leaving. Waterlooville centre is dyeing. What are our planners doing to entice the big names, the prestigious names into Waterlooville.

What do we have now ?

For the Cafe Culture  we have Costa Coffee.  For the kids we have Macdonalds. Major retailers are  represented by Asda, Waitrose, Wilkinsons, Peacocks, Superdrug and Boots. Most of the major banks are represented too.

Much money has been spent of making Waterlooville look like a throwback to the 50’s idea of a modern town centre.

Sometimes it makes me wonder where the planners heads are. Time will only tell what kind of hell they have committed us to.

Construction to finally begin on huge new estate for Waterlooville – Politics – Portsmouth News.