Agenda item

Agenda item

135647/FO/2022 - 550 Mauldeth Road West, Manchester, M21 7AA - Chorlton Park Ward

The report of the Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing is enclosed.


The Committee considered the report of the Director of Planning, Building Control and Licensing that related to the erection of a retail foodstore (Class E) with new access arrangements, following demolition of existing structures. It is proposed that the store is operated by Lidl.


In response to the application as submitted, 180 representations had been received. 76 in support, 9 neutral and 95 of which object to the proposal. One of the letters titled Community Letter of Objection was received with 122 signatories.


The planning officer stated that an additional condition was recommended to ensure that an acoustic fence to the service yard be erected should the Committee approve the application. Also, to clarify, due to concerns raised a Road Safety Audit was undertaken by the applicant and this included a site visit. From 3-4pm in November 2022, in line with school finishing times. Highways officers and TfGM were both satisfied that all traffic concerns had been addressed in the report with further pedestrian facilities to be looked into.


An objector attended and addressed the Committee on the application stating that she was representing 122 residents in Chorlton Park Ward. There had been 97 other online objections. This scheme was not suitable due to the proximity to 4 schools, a food bank and family support charity centre. The objectors had concerns with the traffic modelling for this scheme and having made their own checks, believe that the increases in traffic could be as much as 200 cars per hour. This would have a detrimental effect on air quality and have the potential for road accidents. There had already been a road traffic accident leading to life altering injuries for a child in the area and the objector reported an incident happening the day before the hearing. This scheme was not consistent with the Council’s own strategy. The headteacher of Loreto High School had submitted a comment, stating that they had concerns for pupil safety if the development went ahead. There had been 2 hit and run incidents already. There were already queues along Nell Lane adding to car fumes, safety issues and clear signs of frustrated drivers making it already unsafe at present. This scheme would exacerbate these dangers. There are already 4.5 thousand schoolchildren in the locality and the headteacher of Chorlton High School had also submitted concerns, stating that this was an extremely difficult area due to traffic and the Metrolink stop. The shared access to Hough End Hall was already too busy and schools had made attempts to stop parents using the local highways to drop off and collect their children. It was felt that the addition of a supermarket in this location would increase parental pick ups as they would use the supermarket when arranging drop off and collection of children. Due to the lack of diligence in tackling the issues in the area and failure to consider the potential impacts, the objector requested that the Committee refuse this application. The objector inferred that the reports had been rushed through and objections not considered properly. A site visit during school hours would prove the objectors’ case should the Committee want to consider this option. In their closing statement, the objector read from a parent’s objection which considered that a serious and deadly accident would be likely to occur and those who let the scheme go ahead would be to blame.


The agent for the applicant attended and addressed the Committee on the application stating that the scheme would create jobs, that highways officers were satisfied with traffic and road concerns and deemed them safe and appropriate. The proposal would be a modern and attractive building matching Hough End Hall. There would be no less to amenity to local residents, and no impact to air quality and there are clear benefits. The site was a brownfield site, and the development would improve the area. The location of the store allowed for shoppers to visit via tram, bus bicycle and on foot. In their closing statement, the agent stated that approving the application would create growth and jobs.


Local Ward Councillor Rawson addressed the Committee and stated that this was a busy junction with 4 schools nearby. The plan for a Lidl supermarket was welcomed by some residents as this would bring an affordable supermarket to the area which those nearby would not have to visit in a vehicle and there was support for this being available to pedestrians and cyclists. The Merseybank estate was in a “food desert” area with a lack of local shops/supermarkets and many were keen for the scheme to go ahead for this reason. Councillor Rawson stated that he had children in local schools and so understood the concerns around the issues raised. There would be 40 jobs available at the supermarket for local people and Wards Councillors had campaigned for better parking restrictions in the area and had achieved a 30mph speed limit, pedestrian zone, pelican crossing and crossing patrol. If the scheme were to be approve, then there could always be additional highways mitigation applied in the area. Councillor Rawson expressed that there should be higher interventions at the key times of the school day. A site visit would show why the area required extra measures, such as a no deliveries condition/policy at key school times, no reduction of pavement space, crossing points and no kerb mounting. Lidl could be asked to provide a crossing patrol for the first year of operations and should considered additional cycle parking instead of car parking space. The junction of Mauldeth Road West and Nell Lane would require some traffic calming and bus shelters should be added at the supermarket.


The planning officer addressed the concerns raised including a justification for the number of car parking spaces proposed and that Highways officers and TfGM were satisfied but conditions were in place to address issues on access to Nell Lane. An upgrade to the junction using a MOVA system was proposed, and air quality had been properly assessed. The planning officer reminded the Committee that the recommendation was for approval.


Councillor Flanagan stated that he was glad to see the current building being up for demolition but understood the issue and felt that the positive aspects of the scheme had to be balanced with safety concerns. In his closing statement, Councillor Flanagan noted the four schools and a park in the vicinity of this scheme and proposed a site visit at a peak time.


The planning officer reiterated that all traffic concerns had been fully assessed by Highways officers and TfGM.


Councillor Leech seconded the proposal for a site visit and stated that he was considering a move of Minded-to-Refuse. He did welcome the idea of a low-cost supermarket but felt that the objector had made a good case against the traffic modelling and concurred that he had little faith in this as well. Councillor Leech was in the belief that changes along Mauldeth Road West due to this scheme would shift traffic down onto an already busy Nell Lane and felt that this traffic flow had not been fully considered. It would be pertinent for the Committee to make a site visit at a peak time due to the four schools in this area.


The planning officer assured the Committee that the Highways officers had looked at all traffic considerations in great detail and added that the fallback position would be that the existing building could be back in use if the scheme was not approved.


Councillor Leech reiterated his concerns regarding the claim that there would be zero additions to traffic flow, adding that this could not be the case and expressed having no faith in the traffic modelling.


The Chair stated that the Committee had expert advice to help in the consideration of all applications.


The Director of Planning stated that a site visit may require a meeting to assess the best time for this purpose. If the scheme was deferred due to concerns that officers hadn’t considered the traffic management plans accordingly then again, officers would come back with further information.


The Chair stated that some Committee members had family commitments and may not be available to make a site visit at school times so suggested an evening visit that would still be at a busy time, possibly the day before the next Planning and Highways Committee meeting.


Councillor Davies explained that there were other experts involved within the representations in that headteachers knew their area very well and stated that a plan of the site in relation to the nearby schools would have been helpful. Councillor Davies was satisfied with the proposal of a site visit and mentioned that it may be worth asking the local headteachers what they felt the best time to visit would be.


The Chair reminded the Committee that they should take both sets of experts into account, adding that there was a process within the Labour Group to deal with these concerns and then had the Committee vote on the proposal for a site visit as proposed by Councillor Flanagan and seconded by Councillor Leech.




The Committee agreed the proposal to undertake a site visit, owing to concerns raised around traffic and pedestrian safety, junctions and highways at the site.

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