Morrisons – Officers say yes

Proposed view of Morrisons Small

 

The planning professionals at Elmbridge and Surrey have given their recommendation for the borough to permit the development of a new Morrisons in Monument Hill.  In precise terms “… it is considered that this scheme be recommended for planning permission… “.  Have a read of their report (Morrisons 2013-1611) and tell me what you think.

Twenty-three people will meet on Tuesday at the civic centre at 7:45 to decide whether to permit this scheme or not.  Other options are available too – to permit with further conditions or  to delay pending further report backs.  It is the biggest single development in the town centre for many years.

14 thoughts on “Morrisons – Officers say yes

  1. Cllr. Davis
    I have now revisited the Planning Committee minutes of July 2013 when this application was given consent by 10 votes to 6, with an appalling 7 (over 30%) abstentions.

    You mentioned at a recent PP&DRA AGM that the details of those councillors who totally let the residents of Weybridge down by not expressing any opinion whatsoever were on this website.

    I cannot find them, and want to understand why those who abstained why they thought it acceptable to do so.

    Please advise. Thank you.

  2. I am not opoosed to Morrison’s but they should have been made to provide twice the number of car parking spaces. I live between Waitrose and Portmore Park Road and the parking here is a nightmare with more and more day parking filling our street. The problem in Weybridge, quite simply, is the lack of adequate parking which will hold back the development of the town. We go to Addlestone, Hersham and Brooklands to shop because we can park. Talk of getting rid of cars is absurd. How do you carry a family’s weekly shop home today without using a car? And there is a totally inadequate public bus service which has to come first.

    • Whilst, I sympathise with your parking nightmares, unfortunately, regardless of the Morrison’s store, current inaction on curbing the growth in car ownership means they will just get worse. On the bright side though, anyone who lives between Waitrose and Portmore Park Road seems ideally placed to do all their family’s weekly shopping on foot.

  3. I think the Morrison’s scheme is worth a try and welcome the decision of our elected representatives. Monument Hill has been an architectural hodge-podge for decades but now at least most of one side of it will look presentable and we will have a useful new roundabout as well as a good local alternative to Waitrose (not that I have anything against them); shame about the tree though.
    It seems somewhat perverse to oppose the introduction of a new good quality store to the town because of an anticipated adverse effect on traffic. Weybridge’s traffic problems could of course become even worse for a while when the new store opens, but I suspect it might just then return more or less to it’s current level of awfulness.
    The problem is not the new store, which if you set aside the traffic question should be an asset to the community, it is that too many vehicles pass through Weybridge. There doesn’t appear to be any convincing evidence that the total number of vehicles passing through the town at critical times, or traffic movements in general, will increase significantly because of Morrisons. The forecasts of changes in traffic movements and volumes on all sides of the argument seem, as ever, partial, selective and imprecise – guesswork really.
    More important considerations for the current traffic problems are unbridled increases in both population and car ownership which show no sign of abating, and there seems a general lack of will to achieve either objective – it’s got to happen sometime though.
    Other ‘solutions’ could include: building a by-pass (expensive and disruptive, so unlikely to happen); discourage through-traffic (make the High St and/or Baker Street access only zones, i.e. no through-traffic which would be easy and cheap to do but would have major knock-on effects so, again, unlikely); change attitudes away from acceptance of car dominance (probably the most difficult of all but, again, it’s got to happen sometime), improve public transport and roads (could include something like the Poynton ‘solution’ [is there an update on that?]).

  4. The residents of Weybridge have been betrayed by the county and borough officers over the handling of this planning application. What is being proposed is a monstrosity for a town the size of Weybridge and Morrison’s attempt to get approval for its Trojan Horse by putting on a false facade is both patronising and insulting to us. The proposal to construct a single retail unit on Monument Hill with a frontage the length of Buckingham Palace just does not stand up to any normal definition of objective scrutiny, however it is dressed up.

    The county and borough councils have policies in place which give them the authority to refuse applications like this. However, there seems to have been a total capitulation by our officials in the face of this onslaught by Morrison’s, and my main criticism in this respect is of Surrey Highways. Had they refused from the outset to permit any more obstacles on the A317 through Weybridge (there are more than enough already creating congestion) then Morrison’s roundabout plan would never have seen the light of day and its proposals would have had to be scaled down.

    For a highway authority to dismiss concerns about increased traffic, pollution and congestion with a justification along the lines of “the traffic flow is already so heavy in Weybridge that extra traffic to the new Morrison’s couldn’t make it any worse” to my mind is quite appalling and an abrogation of responsibility.
    The Planning Officer’s report makes no mention whatsoever of the increase of HGV movements that this monster store will create – why not? What about local policy MOV15? And there has been very little mention of the proposed goods yard entrance further up Monument Hill, which will look like a prison entrance – have you seen Sainsbury’s equivalent in Hepworth Way, Walton? What a lovely welcome to Weybridge that will be.

    I can only hope now that our borough councillors on the Planning Committee have the courage to refuse this application and to keep on doing so until Morrison’s show some respect for Weybridge. I doubt that anybody would object if it applied for a new supermarket just on the former “Focus” site footprint, but that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

  5. I do not believe that Weybridge needs another supermarket let alone one the size of this Morrisons planning application. It is completely oversized for a town centre and almost three (3x) the size of the existing Focus store and only just smaller than he previous rejected application. The local area is very well served with large supermarkets in Addelstone, Brooklands, Walton, Chertsey and Cobham. The idea that it will just serve local people who will walk to the store is unbelievable as nobody will walk for a weekly shop as it will be to heavy to carry home. A store of this size will also need lots of customer to make it profitable so it will need to attract customers from outside of the town centre, so creating additional car journeys.

    The current traffic situation in the High Street and Monument Hill is already at an unacceptable level so the additional traffic from this store will gridlock the entire area. The traffic journeys in the submission show four (4x) increases and this is based on a store the size of focus not the three (3x) times larger store proposed, so it will be even more. The idea of another pedestrian crossing is ill conceived as there is a current one only a 100 metres or so away at Pizza Express that causes a lot of the current traffic problems, so another one will just add to the congestion resulting in gridlock. The staff car journeys and parking has not been adequately addressed and just not believable, many more staff will drive and either park in the supermarket car park or local roads. The car park layout will lead to queuing traffic right out onto the proposed roundabout. Are there enough spaces for all the customers which seems unlikely as there are only 220 and are the spaces large enough to accommodate all the large 4×4 that are so prevalent in Weybridge which take up so much more space and time to park again leading to delays in parking reducing the usable spaces which will lead to additional causing queuing. The limited allowable parking time will stop any of the customer additionally shopping in the local shops so putting even more pressure on these local shops at this difficult time which could result in the loss of local shops and jobs.
    This proposal must be rejected as it just an out of town store in the middle of town which will a have a with a detrimental effect on the traffic, local shops and general environment.

  6. The first two points under the ‘Relevant National and Local Policy’ state the following:

    -Planning should be genuinely plan led, empowering local people to shape their surroundings.

    -Planning should not simply be about scrutiny, but instead be a creative exercise in finding ways to enhance and improve the places in which people live their lives.

    The application fails on both these points alone. We are trying as local people to shape our surroundings by objecting to both applications en masse. Amazingly our views are blatantly being ignored. Why?

    This proposal does not enhance & improve the place in which we live. That is why there has been such a high objection rate from the residents who live in the area.

    I struggle to understand why the recommendation is to permit this development when we don’t want it. Clearly the residents are not being listened and are being ignored. Why would that be?

  7. My condolences to the other residents of Weybridge – the small town that you have enjoyed living in and being part of will be changed forever if Morrisons are allowed in. The extra traffic from early in the morning to late at night will be intolerable – plus they have boasted of providing jobs for 300 local people. Although some of them may travel to work by bus the majority could drive – and Morrisons have not provided staff car parking – so that means all the surrounding roads will become a huge car park for Morrisons staff – very unpleasant. Building works for a year and half will also cause chaos for local residents and I expect house and gardens located near the town centre to be covered in a layer for dust for that period.

    Despite detailed representations to the planning officer and local councillors pointing out the shortcomings of the Morrisions scheme by a chartered surveyor – these findings were never acknowledged.

  8. Quote from the report “It is recognised that the development will result in increased vehicle movements on Monument Hill. However, the additional impact on the network is low due to the existing traffic flows being so high.”

    So, the traffic situation is already so bad, Morrisons can’t make it much worse! Surrey CC needs to take a serious look at Weybridge traffic flow and devise some new controls and flows to help the high street is to survive this development, and local residential roads avoid becoming chaotic and unbearable. Weybridge will need a high street by-pass system for through traffic and another road system where shops can have lorry deliveries without causing traffic to come to a standstill.

  9. I say no to Morrisons. The current application is still much too big for a small place like Weybridge and will cause traffic problems, parking problems and probably adversely affect other shops on the High St.

    Why is this application being treated so differently to the first one? It is not much smaller, there is still not enough parking, it is overdevelopment of the site and yet it seems to be being going through the planning process without a problem. It makes me suspicious.

  10. Congestion in Weybridge is already at a totally unacceptable level. This development will cause a significant increase in traffic, making an already awful position unbearable. The officers concerned don’t appear to understand this or are simply ignoring the issue, in spite of multiple objections. What more can be done to wake them up?

  11. Having read the Borough officers’ report on the application it reads as if they have bent over backwards to give Morrisons as big a store as possible.

    What is noticeable is that the issues of the small size of the car park and the potential for queuing onto Monument Hill are addressed but there is no report given by Surrey Highways with the detailed analysis alluded to in the planning report. The analysis needs to be published. The physical layout of the car park has no allowance for hold ups inside it causing traffic to back up onto the roundabout. Laughably it says Morrisons did a survey of Waitrose’s car park and concluded it has spare capacity at weekends. They obviously haven’t experienced it like I have, and our own Council then just accepts what Morrisons say…!

  12. Do these officers having the power to say “Yes” regularly drive a motor vehicle through Weybridge at peak times?, or when there is an M25 hold up at either junction ten or eleven? If they do not then these officers will be unaware of the fragility of the traffic flow system in the town and are unqualified to pronounce on this issue – “expert” road traffic analysis models notwithstanding.

    The point about any modelling program used for analysis is that it is only as good as its input. Garbage in Garbage Out; let us not overlook the fact that there are vested interests at work here; their views will be partial.

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