To consider a report by the Head of Planning.
The Committee considered an application - 6/2019/0443 – by ALDI Stores Ltd, for a proposal to erect a discount supermarket (A1 use class), with 1802 square metres of gross floor space, of which 1315 square metres would be used as the retail area and the rest of the space used for storage and staff facilities, with a bay for unloading deliveries being constructed on the north eastern elevation, recessed into the ground, with the lowest point being situated approximately 1.2m below the finished floor level of the rest of the store.
The proposal included the formation of a new car park, which would provide for 132 car parking spaces, two of which would provide an electrical charging point, with 8 being designated as parking spaces for parents with young children. The car park would also provide 4 parking spaces for disabled users and 10 spaces for bicycles. The proposal also included a planting and landscaping scheme for the car park.
A new access was also proposed as part of the development. A totem sign was to be the subject of the advertisement of a separate advertisement consent should the application be approved.
To complement the development, an agreement would need to be met to monitor the use of the uncontrolled pedestrian crossing adjacent to the store on Blandford Road North (B3068). If it was established over a five-year period that there was sufficient pedestrian use of the crossing, an agreement would be put in place for the applicant to upgrade the crossing to a traffic light controlled crossing. This would be achieved by means of a Section 106 agreement.
As to the relevant planning history of the site, the land had been used as an oil depot and garage for a number of years, but had been derelict for some time over the recent past, so the development was seen to be a means of making use of this brownfield site and going some way to providing for the retail need in Upton which had been identified.
With the aid of a visual presentation, officers provided context of what the
main proposals, principles and planning issues of the development were; how
this were to be progressed; how the development would address retail need in that part of the county; and what this entailed. The presentation focused on
not only what the development entailed and its detailed design, but what
effect it would have on residential amenity, Upton town centre and the character the area. Officers were obliged to consider whether there were any alternative, suitable sites and whether the development would be harmful to the viability of Upton town centre. Analysis of evidence had indicated that, in both cases, it was their view that this would not be the case. If the proposal had been considered to be harmful to the viability and vitality of Upton, the generation of 30 full time jobs would not be considered to carry significant weight to overcome the harm that would be caused. As the proposal was considered not to be harmful to the viability and vitality of Upton town centre, this was one of the reasons for what was being recommended. Overall, the modest economic benefits were seen to be acceptable and should be seen to be beneficial in contributing to economic growth in that part of Dorset in particular and the county in general. Moreover, this was the only discount store that was planned to serve the Purbeck area as, currently, the nearest such alternative was to be found in Poole.
Plans and photographs provided an illustration of the location, orientation,
dimensions – form, bulk, size and mass - and appearance of the development; how it would look – with contextual elevations / visualisation and floorplans being provided for this purpose; the materials to be used; the layout of the car park and where trolley parks would be located; access and highway considerations; the means of landscaping; where any pedestrian access would be situated; where the road crossing point would be located; and its setting within the Upton and the characteristics of that part of the town. Deliveries would be unloaded below ground level, in a recessed bay, to ensure that any external noise would be limited.
There was seen to be some scope for a pedestrian link from the east, direct from the housing estate on the northern side of Blandford Road North to the store, rather than it being necessary to circumnavigate the perimeter, but no progress had been made on any solution to this with the Town Council - as third party owners of the land - and whilst it might well be seen as a desired line, it was not critical to the merits of the application, given that there were acceptable alternative means of access.
Officers showed the development’s relationship with the neighbouring residential estates and how that access to the store might be achieved. Views into the site and around it were shown, which provided a satisfactory understanding of all that was necessary.
Officers considered that the proposed development would provide a clear economic benefit to Upton and surrounding areas. The development would generate 30 full time equivalent jobs in the store. This was considered to be a positive benefit to the area.
Given all this, officers considered that all material planning considerations had been addressed and were acceptable, with the development making best use of previously developed land and would result in a positive contribution to townscape. As such, members were now being asked to agree to what was being recommended.
Formal consultation had resulted in Lytchett Minster and Upton Town Council not objecting to, and accepting, the principle of the development but, amongst some other practical suggestions, asked that vegetation be managed to improve sightlines so as to improve what was being proposed. Similarly, Natural England and the Environment Agency both raised no objection, in principle.
Dorset Council Highways Team had no objections, subject to the provision of an uncontrolled pedestrian crossing and bus shelters, a layby and a right turn lane being required. There were 372 third party representations received, with 24 objecting to the proposal - including one representing Lidl – and 310 in support.
The Committee were notified of those written submissions received and
officers read these direct to the Committee - being appended to these
minutes. Having heard what was said, officers responded to some of the
pertinent issues raised, being confident that, where applicable, each one could be addressed by the provisions of the application.
The Committee were joined by local Ward Councillors Bill Pipe and Andrew Starr. Councillor Pipe welcomed what he considered to be a much needed development to serve the needs of the local population with any effect on local established convenience stores being minimal. This store would offer the opportunity for residents to be able to do a weekly sized shop in close proximity to their homes. He was also supportive of the benefits for employment and the economy.
Councillor Andrew Starr similarly supported this development for the same reasons but asked that the vegetation be managed to improve sight lines, the pedestrian access be made more user friendly and felt that it was necessary to have a fully functioning light controlled crossing available from the outset given the demographic profile of those shoppers anticipated and their need for this facility.
The opportunity was given for members to ask questions of the presentation
and what they had heard, in seeking clarification of aspects so as to have a
better understanding in coming to a decision. Particular reference was made to the appearance of the store; access arrangements; traffic management and speed limit provision; how parking spaces were to be determined and their layout; and what the requirement there was for the introduction of a controlled pedestrian crossing. They asked officers to consider the application of a barrier at the entrance to the car park to restrict use of the site outside store operating hours and so as to deter such use.
Officers addressed the questions raised providing what they considered to be
satisfactory answers. As well as clarifying aspects of the development of the store itself, in particular the Highways Advisor explained how the access arrangements were designed to operate and the safety issues that had been addressed in doing this. He was of the view that the quality of the proposed pedestrian access around the perimeter of the site could be improved so that it was of a suitable standard to all users. Any direct access - as had been suggested from the north eastern direction - was not able to be addressed by this application given the current ownership issues, but could be addressed - should any future negotiations be necessary - through a separate application.
Moreover, in particular, officers clarified that there was a need for evidence of use to be gathered and analysed before consideration could be given and it determined to whether a light controlled crossing was justified or whether the pedestrian refuge which currently existed would suffice and that this evidence could only come after the store had opened and was being used. Members were assured that the s106 agreement provided for a commitment from Aldi to apply those enhanced measures if necessary.
Officers considered that the request for a barrier was acceptable and could be accommodated – by condition - to address any potential unauthorised activity in addressing those concerns Members raised.
Whilst some members maintained their reservations at what access arrangements were being proposed and how, seemingly, these could not necessarily be enhanced as they would have liked, the general view was that the development was acceptable and would contribute quite significantly to both employment opportunities and economic growth in the area and would be an asset in meeting local retail needs.
Having had the opportunity to discuss the merits of the application, having
understood what was being proposed and the reasoning for this; having taken
into account the officer’s report and presentation, the written representations;
and what they had heard at the meeting, and having received satisfactory
answers to questions raised, the Committee were satisfied in their
understanding of what the proposal entailed and the reasoning for this and, on
that basis - and being proposed by Councillor Robin Cook and seconded by
Councillor Shane Bartlett - on being put to the vote, the Committee unanimously agreed that the application should be approved, subject to the conditions set out
in paragraph 17 of the report; and taking into account the addition of a condition to provide for a vehicle height barrier upon entry to the site; and the application of a s106 agreement for the provision of a controlled pedestrian crossing, as necessary.
That the grant of planning permission, in respect of application 6/2019/0443, be delegated to the Head of Planning, subject to the
completion of a legal agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country
Planning Act 1990 (as amended), in a form to be agreed by the Legal Services Manager to secure the following:-
- a monitoring agreement requiring at least annual surveys for the
first five years after the store has opened to establish whether the
pedestrian crossing will need to be upgraded to a signal controlled crossing.
and subject to the conditions contained in paragraph 17 of the report with an additional condition in respect of:-
- details of a vehicle barrier to be installed at the entrance must be submitted to the Local Planning Authority prior to the store opening to the public. The barrier must be installed before the store is opened to the public and permanently retained in accordance with the details. The barrier must be closed when the store is not open to members of the public.
Reason: In the interests of security and anti-social behaviour.
and the inclusion of the Informative Note - The applicant should carefully consider the management of deliveries on the site.
Reasons for Decision
Para 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out that
permission should be granted for sustainable development unless specific
policies in the NPPF indicate otherwise
• The location is considered to be sustainable and the proposal is
acceptable in its design and general visual impact.
• There is not considered to be any significant harm to neighbouring
• There are no material considerations which would warrant refusal of this
• The proposal is not considered to harm the viability or vitality of either
Upton or Poole Town Centres.