Saturday, December 27, 2008

My views on the proposed redevelopment of the Meteor Ford site, Moseley

Below is my response to the proposed planning application for a Tesco's supermarket and medical centre on the former Meteor Ford site, Moseley.

I don't normally e-mail out my views on a planning application, however I have been contacted my so many concerned residents that I feel I must in this case.

As I said when this when that application was lodged, I could see the advantages and disadvantages of the application. However, I have decided that in the balance of things, I am against the application.

I have detailed my reasoning in the attached document.

The planning application will most likely be heard by Planning Committee in February, unless the developer decides to revise the scheme. Views on the application can still be submitted on please quote the planning application number S/06141/08/FUL

Drawings of the scheme can be seen at
and searching for the planning application number S/06141/08/FUL

My response submitted to the Planning Committee is as follows:

Date: 27th December 2008


To: Planning

Ref: MU01984: Councillor Comments on planning application S/06141/08/FUL - St. Marys Row, Former Bristol Street Motors, Meteor Buildings, Moseley, Birmingham, B13 9EG - Demolition of existing dealership/buildings and redevelopment to provide a mixed use development


I wish to comment on the above planning application. There are many positive aspects to this scheme, however I cannot support this proposal for the following reasons:


1)    I’m concerned that the medical centre is not big enough


2)    I’m concerned that the proposed food retail store is too big and will generate too much car traffic for the car park and nearby traffic junctions.


3)    I’m not happy with the closeness of the building to the pavement of St.Marys Row.


4)    I’m concerned that the overall developement will have a detrimental effect on traffic circulation and parking in the immediate vicinty.


To remedy these concerns would there be any merit in exploring the following?:


i)             Make the first and second floors into a medical parctice.


ii)            Reduce the size of the food retail unit, or even have something else on the ground floor – health gym?


iii)           Make the triangular section of land on the corner of Oxford Road and St.Marys Row, next to Stanley Place, into a staff car park? It was a car park for the former Meteor Ford showroom.


iv)           Make the disused car park between St.Marys Church and 61 St.Marys Row, into an overspill car park for the supermarket. This would take pressure off the dog-leg car park to rear of the supermarket. If a condition could be added, allowing local shoppers 1 hour free use, this would massively boost the local day time economy. It would also provide car parking for visitors to St.Marys Church, the Calvary Church on Oxford Road and the monthly Moseley Farmers Market. At the moment visitors to these places, have to drive round looking for on-street parking.





Dealing with various points of the planning application:




Use of the site for a medical centre.

I support the inclusion of a medical centre on this site, however I am concerned it will not be big enough to meet the future needs of the residents of Moseley.


In the South Birmingham Primary Care Trust consultation document -  Equitable Access Scheme – it clearly states that Moseley needs an additional medical practice. This planning application needs to viewed with that in mind, I am concerned this application will not meet those future needs.


I would prefer the site to be solely used for a new medical centre. However I accept that compulsory purchasing the site to achieve this would be difficult. 


The central area of Moseley at the moment has two doctors surgeries – Wake Green Surgery at 7 Wake Green Road (directly across the road from this developement) and Moseley Medical Practice at 21 Salisbury Road (about 150 metres from this developement). Both surgeries are in former domestic houses and are no longer suitable as modern doctors surgeries. They are both overcrowded, with poor disabled facilites.


The future of Moseley Medical Practice is uncertain, due to the doctors being close to retirement and no clear plan as to who will take over this surgery. There is a real possibility that Moseley Medical Practice may close in the next few years and all its patients transfered to Wake Green Surgery.


Wake Green Surgery, which will transfer to this proposed new medical facility, is presently located across the road in a former 1930’s domestic house and it is bursting at the seams. Some of its clerical staff have their desks in the hallways, due to a lack of space. Some of its practice rooms are upstairs with no disabled lifts.


Wake Green Surgery has investigated the possibility of extending their present building, but an extension would be limited, due to planning constraints. This development would ensure that they maintain a central Moseley location and not move elsewhere.


Maintaining a central Moseley location for Wake Green Surgery is crucial for the following reasons:

1)    It would maintain the ‘foot traffic’ in the retail area of Moseley. Patients walking to and from the surgery will use the shops and chemists within Moseley shopping centre.

2)    Keep the surgery close to north Moseley (north of Wake Green Road) which has high levels of economic poverty and its associated health issues.


With the Primary Care Trust asking for more medical facilites in Mosley AND the real possibility that the Moseley Medical Practice could close, this new medical facility and its car parking needs to be able to cope with any future expansion. I don’t believe this scheme will allow that to happen.



Use of the site for a food retail unit

I have no issue with the site being used for a food retail unit. The issue for me is that it is too big for the proposed car park and neighbouring road junctions.


The present site is within Moseley shopping centre and a small food retail store would at least maintain ‘foot traffic’ within Moseley shopping centre.


The core of Moseley shopping centre consists of two roads – Alcester Road and St.Marys Row. Whilst Alcester Road has seen considerable investment in the last ten years, the day time shops along St.Marys Row have and continue to struggle to survive. This development, will attract investment to this part of Moseley shopping centre, potentially creating a short stay car park and attract foot traffic to these shops.


I note that the store will be an ‘express’ supermarket. Comparing its proposed size to neighbouring supermarkets, I make it out to be as follows:


Sainsburys (Moseley) – the proposed store is three times larger

Somerfield (Moseley) – the proposed store is two-thirds the size

Sainsburys (Kings Heath shopping centre) – the proposed store is half the size

Sainsburys (Kings Heath shopping centre) – the proposed store is half the size

Tesco Express (Alcester Road South, Brandwood) – the proposed store would be twice the size.


Simply judging the  size of the proposed store to neighbouring supermarkets, I cannot see it being detrimental to the daytime economy of either Moseley or Kings Heath. However, I do believe that its size will generate too much car traffic, which its car park and local road junctions will not be able to cope with. I will deal with these particular issues below.




Design of the building

I am happy with the exterior style of the building, namely traditional vernacular revival with good quality material and features, such as wooden window frames and glazing bars, fishtail clay roof tiles, etc.


However, one aspect I am uncomfortable with is way the building has been built right up to the back of pavement on St.Marys Row. I believe this elevation should be set back a few metres, no closer than the edge of the present overhead forecourt coverings.



Traffic on neighbouring roads

This is the issue for which I have major concerns. They are as follows:


a)    Overspill from the car park

The proposed car park is a very strange dog-leg shape, with no clear vehicle circulation pattern. This car park, I fear, will test any car driver’s 3-point turning abilities to the maximum. I am concerned that this car park will not function smoothly due to the poor circulation pattern within it, which in turn will cause traffic jams within the car park, with the traffic either queuing on Oxford Road to enter the car park, or shoppers simply parking on Oxford Road.


b)    Not enough spaces for medical practice

Mindful that there is a strong possibility that Wake Green Surgery will need to expand in forthcoming years – see comments above -, I am concerned that there are not spaces allocated for the visitors to the medical centre.


c)    Lack of parking for staff

There is no on-site parking for staff, with no clarity as to how many staff will be employed by the supermarket. I am concerned that Oxford Road will be clogged up with employees parking their cars all day on Oxford Road extending from School Road to St.Marys Row.


d)    Additional traffic on the Oxford Road/St.Marys Row junction

This is a heavily used junction at peak times. In the into-city (westwards) direction and morning peak hour, traffic queues extend down St.Marys Row, into Wake Green Road past the School Road junction. I believe this development will add to that traffic queue. Also, turning right out of Oxford Road into St.Marys Row is a hair-raising experience with cars driving fast in the out-of-city direction on St.Marys Row. I am concerned that this development will lead to significantly more cars turning right out of Oxford Road, which has the potential of becoming an accident spot.


e)    Additional traffic on the Church Road/St. Marys Row junction

There will be a significant increase in traffic trying to turn right out of Church Road, into St.Marys Row - this is a hair-raising experience with cars driving fast in the out-of-city direction on St.Marys Row. Traffic will turn right out of Church Road, because of the ‘no right turn’ at the main traffic lights in Moseley, which will force traffic from Kings Heath to use Woodbridge Road and Church Road to get to the new supermarket. I am concerned that this development will lead to significantly more traffic turning right out of Church Road into St.Marys Row, which has the potential of becoming an accident spot.


f)     Additional Traffic using Oxford Road

The junction of Oxford Road and St.Marys Row is always busy and therefore I am concerned that the vast majority of the car traffic using the proposed new development will avoid this junction by using the stretch of Oxford Road between School Road and Ascot Road. This is a residential road with a Primary School and I believe this development will significantly increase the traffic along that section of Oxford Road.


g)    Additional traffic on School Road

Traffic coming from Kings Heath will use School Road, so as to avoid the traffic lights in central Moseley. School Road is already heavily used with a Primary School on it. I am concerned that this development will significantly add even more traffic to that road.


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