Monday, 1 April 2013

St Peters Street supermarket objection

Letter to planning 31st March 2013
Planning Application Ref: 13/0297 - Objection

We, along with local residents, are very concerned about the planning application to convert the 'Power Hub' on St Peters St into a supermarket. We append a 100 signature petition that has been signed by local residents.

Firstly, the site could be put to better use, for example for light industry or affordable homes, both of which are in short supply. Neither of these uses would create the volumes of traffic associated with a supermarket yet industry and homes are necessary for the town.

Secondly, the specific grounds on which we object to the supermarket are as follows:

1.    Another supermarket in the area is unnecessary. There are already six large supermarkets within a mile of the site: Tesco and Lidl in Tovil; Sainsburys at Romney Place; Aldi on Well Road; Waitrose in Allington and another Lidl in the Broadway Shopping Centre. These are supplemented by three huge supermarkets at Grove Green, Senacre and Aylesford. Furthermore Morrisons are keen to take over the Army and Navy site just a short distance from Baltic Wharf.

As Maidstone residents are not starving as a result of being unable to find a local supermarket it seems that there are no good reasons to think that additional supermarket capacity is needed in the town.

2.    The opening of Asda Home alongside TK Max and Hobbycraft has reduced St Peters Street and Buckland Hill to gridlock at the weekends. There are three schools that are accessed via Buckland Hill which create serious congestion at 8.30 am and 3.30pm each weekday.

The plans state that there will be an extra 710 vehicles an hour along these roads, a rise of 54%. The planning application seems to focus on the impact on the gyratory system and London Road, however the real impact will be on St Peters Street and Buckland Hill and these roads will simply not cope with this additional traffic which equates to an extra car passing every 5 seconds.

The new ‘drive thru’ McDonalds proposed for the Broadway is already destined to bring more congestion and worsen air quality in the area.

Furthermore there are no bus services at all along St Peters Street, and the site is 400 metres from the nearest bus stops. Inevitably almost all customers will arrive and leave by car contributing further to the traffic congestion and pollution in this part of the town.

The impact on air quality for the 800 homes in the Buckland area will be devastating. For some reason the council has not been assessing the area in your pollution control work, however it is opposite Fairmeadow which has exceeded the NO2 targets for the past three years and we can only assume that this level of pollution already extends to Buckland Hill and St Peters Street.

Furthermore, as European research has shown that the UK has around 29,000 premature deaths occur in the UK as a result of PM10, there can be no justification in reducing air quality levels for people already living in an Air Quality Management Area, an area that is clearly experiencing excess deaths due to air pollution.

3.    Other local shops will become unviable and will close. The Corner Shop by Maidstone Barracks Station is well used by local residents and provides useful employment and a friendly local business that will be destroyed by a supermarket on its doorstep.

Maidstone Borough Council should be encouraging local businesses not closing them down.

We urge you to reject the planning application.

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