Plans for new Spar rejected over safety concerns AGAIN

Date published: 01 February 2024

Revamped plans for a new Spar store in Littleborough have been refused over road safety concerns once again.

The proposals would have seen the old Lake Garage off Smithy Bridge Road demolished and replaced with the Spar convenience store and a cash machine. The developer, James Hall & Co Ltd, stated the new store would ‘meet the day-to-day convenience shopping needs of local residents without the need to travel further afield’.

Despite the store design and layout changes proposed by the developer – planning officers at Rochdale Council still believe the plan to be a safety concern for pedestrians.

This comes after the developers changed their original proposal to reduce the number of site access points from three to one and provide a dedicated pedestrian route to the store entrance.

Documents from the developer read: “The current proposal is significantly different to the original proposal in that it prioritises pedestrian movement both within and adjacent to the site along Smithy Bridge Road. Small HGVs will service the site and it is demonstrated that a maximum 10.675m length delivery vehicle can service the site with no highway safety concerns arising. 

“This size delivery vehicle can be expressly stated within a condition as the maximum length vehicle that could service the store. Particular care has been taken to position the store on the site and redesign the servicing so as to provide adequate space for operational purposes and to maintain the residential amenity of neighbouring residents.”

Papers also highlighted that the store would have generated 30 permanent jobs – 15 full-time and 15 part-time, as well creating construction jobs in the short term. The vacant site was previously home to a motor dealership and MOT/car repair garage. 

Detailing officers’ reasons for refusal, a planning report read: “Smithy Bridge Road is a narrow highway forming part of the Council’s Strategic Highway Network and is within close proximity to the M62 motorway diversion route. Swept path analysis fails to demonstrate safe access to and from the site and the manoeuvres undertaken by service vehicles would result in conflict with other vehicles and pedestrians accessing and manoeuvring within the site. 

“This could result in servicing taking place from the highway and creating unacceptable obstructions. The proposed development by reason of providing insufficient on-site parking provision, along with a shared vehicular access point, would also result in vehicular conflict on Smithy Bridge Road and surrounding roads and undue harm to pedestrian safety, placing greater emphasis on access for service vehicles over pedestrians. 

“In addition, the proposed kerb alignment gives rise to unacceptable obstructions for the visually impaired where proposed pavement alignments should be consistent and logical, enabling the visually impaired to predict and interpret unfamiliar environments.”

George Lythgoe, Local Democracy Reporter

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