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Minutes of Meeting: Wed, 9th Sept 2009 at The Wynnstay Hotel

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April 13, 2010 by oswestrychamberoftrade

OSWESTRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEETING
DATE Wednesday 9th September 2009 at The Wynnstay Hotel

OPEN MEETING TO all businesses

In attendance:

Yossi Gliksman (Chairman)
Sharon Gillham secretary
23 business representatives

The purpose of the meeting is to listen to final presentations of two developers representing the Richard Burbidge and Central Car Park proposals.due to some changes they have introduced to there plans .

Despite personally inviting (100 local businesses, only 23 attended the meeting.

Prior to the presentations, Mr Richard Buswell from the Premier Inn formally invited all attendees to a charity event on the 16th September 2009, raising money for water aid.  Coffee and cakes are free and there is a networking session between 9.30 – 11.00am.

The chairman has welcomed both developers and stated that the traders must look at all 4 proposals equally and that the purpose of today’s meeting was to be presented with the 2 developers revised plans, and that a  final discussion about all 4 proposal will be held and put to the vote at the end of the meeting.

RICHARD BURBIDGE PROPOSAL

Representing:  Steve Underhill (chief executive), Peter Vernon, Ian Miller, Felix Gilmer and Maggie

Steve Underhill gave a brief background of the Richard Burbidge Company from its humble beginnings 45 years ago.  Currently the company has a group turnover of £58m and employs a total of 270 employees in Oswestry.  The current Oswestry site is no longer suitable and they need to move into a modern facility.  There is a suitable site ready to re-locate but Mr Underhill would not disclose the location, although did state it was in Oswestry.

PeterVernon discussed 2 principal changes to the original scheme proposal.
1. Removal of the DIY and non-food store
2. Inclusion of a footpath link to town centre

The proposed layout now includes a 60,000 sq ft gross internal Tesco area together with a Reel Cinema (5 screens – 500 seats), 2 restaurants and car parking for 557 vehicles.

The Tesco food store would include a 35,565 sq ft sales area with no mezzanine and no planning consent.  Sales will comprise of 70% convenience/food goods and 30% standard comparison of non food.  There will also be a dot.com delivery service.

Regarding leisure elements at the site, Reel Cinemas are committed to agree to a 20 year stay open clause and the restaurants are designed to compliment the evening economy.

There is a plan to relocate Border Gymnastics to a multi functional unit in the final bay.

IAN MILLER (traffic & transport) discussed the problems of congestion on the Gobowen/Whittington Road junction and have agreed financing for a cycle/pedestrian link from the site to the town centre.

MANDY discussed retail planning issues and asked what benefits the site would bring.  They have identified the need for a 2nd food store which will alter market share and reduce the leakage of trade from the town as research shows that 30% of food expenditure is going elsewhere.  Benefits of the site include a natural extension to the town centre, being just a 5 min walk into town/15 minutes from the whole centre.  There will be a free car park and traffic free cycle/footpath route between the site and town centre.

Maggie made the point that development was not just about location – sustainability and viability are just as important.  The site could be deliverable in a short period and could be up and trading in 2/3 years and is the only proposal that is legally committed to a food store and cinema.  Finally during development there will be no traffic impact on the town centre.

Additional positives include increased trade retention, wider choice of supermarkets, linked shopping trips, wider choice of leisure facilities and will create new jobs and economic prosperity.

PETER VERNON surmised the overall benefits of their proposal:

345 new jobs will be created
Meet the need for a new food store
Satisfy the town’s long need for a cinema
Additional leisure facilities
Maximise the opportunity for linked trips
Improved visuals for the site.

MR CHAIRMAN asked the representative from Tesco to briefly explain to the members the concept behind the proposed ‘environmental store’.  There has been a similar model built in Cheetham Hill, Manchester which has produced 70% less carbon.  The members were shown an image and explained how the carbon footprint on construction was greatly reduced using different materials/designs in construction, etc.

MR CHAIRMAN asked for members comments/questions:

Member:  Is the Richard Burbidge site move really necessary and is the research out of date now that Morrisons has opened?

Steve Underhill:  If someone else got the go ahead to build at an alternative site, Burbidges would have to think of other alternatives – but he can’t say one way or another.  Tescos were approached by more than one site, but they felt strongly that the Burbidge proposal was the next scheme and backed this application from day one.

Member:  Since the original research, the Nathanial Lichfield report has been updated and subsequently there is the need for a lower suggested square footage.
Tesco representative:  There are 2 main areas where we want to increase sales in the non-food option – young clothing and small electrical   There are no plans to extend but if they did want to extend in the future they would have to go through planning applications from scratch.

CENTRAL CAR PARK DEVELOPMENT

Representing J Ross Developments were Nick Scott, Spencer Cooper and Beth Burton.

NICK SCOTT opened the presentation with a brief background of J Ross Developments.  Whilst is a local company, their sister company K&E have developed numerous similar projects.  An exhibition showing proposals was held earlier in the year where they received 75% support from members of the public for the central car park development.

Mr Scott went through a description of the proposals:
Main site will be on the central car park and there will be a 2nd site off Middleton Road which will remain during and after development.  The main site will be mixed use with 3400 square metres net sales area – there will be a limited number of small retail units and increased long and short stay car park and 170 seat digital cinema by The Light company.  There will be a 2 storey decked supermarket with a ground floor car park accessible from Salop Road.  The main frontage of the development will be on English Walls and the entrance to the cinema will face Festival Square.  The developers have undertaken a contemporary design lead approach to repair the urban fabric and make it attractive to Festival Square.  The development improves and contributes to the existing car park creating 715 parking spaces – 552 are short stay shopping spaces and 163 long stay spaces will be available at the Middleton Road site.  There is a Highways strategy in place to accommodate the scheme which includes traffic lights at the Victoria/Salop Road junction.

Construction Management Plan
1. To construct Middleton Road car park immediately to create 163 spaces.
2. To commence construction in the main car park which will take a maximum of  12 months.

BETH BURTON discussed the impact the central car park development on the town centre.  PPS6 tests include – need, accessibility, subsequential approach, sustainability, viability and availability.

The impacts are highly positive – the proposal is designed to increase the attraction of the town centre and promote the role and function of the centre.  It will encourage linked trips giving real opportunity for spin off expenditure to existing retailers and symbolises investment in the town centre.  It will also have a positive impact on the night time economy via the cinema.

Securing the towns future:-

The design quality will compliment the existing historic area.  It will promote sustainable travel and urban growth in the highly inclusive development providing a food store and cinema providing a new focal point for this area.  There will be new job opportunities – creating new rather than displaced jobs.

Conclusion:-

This is a high quality mixed use proposal.  There is a comprehensive highways and car parking strategy, a detailed construction management plan.  The development is planning policy compliant and will have a positive impact on the town centre (protecting existing day and evening economy) securing the future of Oswestry.

MR CHAIRMAN asked the representatives if this proposed development ‘Is a dream’ or could it be a reality?

Nick Scott replied:  Should the Smithfield development be refused – the town centre development will be promoted.  Technically the central cark park is available.  Four years ago J Ross Developments had detailed discussions with the Town Council regarding the central car park development.  They employed a district valuer for detailed advice and there were subsequent meetings with the Town Council.  It is only because the Smithfield site became available that talks ceased.  Should the Smithfield be deemed unsuitable then it is clear the Town Council will come back to the original proposals and review the original advice.

Mr Chairman thanked both parties for their professional presentations

A final discussion took place between the traders to ascertain which site (if any) was most favoured.

Unfortunately many members had left before the end of the meeting and missed the voting process.

18 traders voted with the following result:

Smithfield Development – no votes
JT Hughes Development – no votes
Richard Burbidge Development – no votes
Central Car Park Development – 9 votes
Opposed to any development – 9 votes

This was a clear indication that the mutual opinion was against a multi use development in Oswestry.

It was then concluded by the chairman that based on revised NLP figures that another supermarket is not required, which was much supported by the traders, and in the event that there is still a demonstrated need for such a development, then it would be the Chambers preference that it be met in the Town Centre.

Issues like land ownership, deliverability, and whether an operator could be found were considered to be matters outside the Chambers control, remit and matters for the planners to deal with, with the Chamber instead preferring not to go beyond the principal of the location at this stage..


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