A MAJOR retail development which will transform the centre of Uttoxeter and create 500 new jobs is set to be given the green light by planners next week.
Plans for the Carters Square development, including a new Asda supermarket, medical practice, cafè and retail units, have been recommended for approval by officers at East Staffordshire Borough Council ahead of a crunch meeting of the authority’s planning committee on Monday.
Due to the importance of the plans to Uttoxeter the planning committee will meet in the town, rather than at Burton Town Hall.
The exciting development, which will include seven new retail units including the Asda store and a new cafè, will also see a new home for the Northgate doctor’s surgery.
However, it is revealed in planning officer Jonathan Imber’s report to next week’s planning committee that there have been objections to the scheme from two high-profile national groups and from residents.
English Heritage has objected to the application on the basis that the proposal ‘would be harmful to the character and appearance of the conservation area and the setting of a number of listed buildings including the town hall’.
It also states in its objection: “The blank frontages to Smithfield Road and the car park and the encroachment of the development into the open setting at the rear of the town hall would be particularly harmful and there is no special quality in the proposed design to override these concerns.” The Environment Agency has also objected to the plans on the grounds that it believes the flood risk assessment submitted with the proposals is ‘inadequate’.
During public consultation on the plans, just five letters against the scheme were received by the council.
Among the issues raised in these objections were concerns about the effects of the development on nearby residents.
These include increased noise and disturbance during the construction and when the development is open and fully functional and increased traffic congestion and on-street car parking.
Mr Imber admits in his report to the committee that the design of the development visually is not ideal but on balance the visual impact would not be ‘unacceptably detrimental’.
He said: “Whilst it is accepted that in purely visual terms there remains room for improvement, it is considered that the quality of the scheme is as high as can reasonably be achieved given the current economic climate and the requirements of prospective tenants.” Mr Imber has recommended that a condition restricting deliveries to the service yard closest to existing houses should be restricted to between the hours of midnight and 6am to restrict the impact on nearby residents.
In his conclusion Mr Imber rejected claims that the plans would unacceptably affect the character of the area or the amenities enjoyed by nearby residents and recommended the planning committee permit the plans subject to conditions.
The planning committee meeting will be held at Bradley House Club, in Bradley Street, Uttoxeter, on Monday at 2pm.