APPLICATION 11/04306/OT. Demolish existing buildings and erect a retail foodstore (Class A1), with car parking, landscaping and access. Site of Asda store, Old Lane, Beeston, LS11 8AG.
I am writing in connection with the above application which is to be considered by the Plans Panel South and West, which you chair next Thursday (20th June 2013).
This application and the application by Tesco in a nearby location has been the subject of much comment locally both at the Beeston Forum and on the blog South Leeds Life.
In the event of either or both applications being approved there are likely to be implications for Beeston local centre; quantifying these effects is difficult to establish. The report to the Plans Panel acknowledges this and traffic implications.
I would like to make the following comments.
1. The proposed employment section of the Section 106 agreement (section 6.21 of the report) is weak. There is no specific mention of the number of jobs (full time equivalents) to be created nor what proportion should be focused on local people. It is essential that the numbers etc are quantified before the S106 agreement is signed. While it may not be practicable to insist on the applicant using ‘best endeavours’ there is a considerable risk that the applicant will now take concerted and effective enough action to achieve the intent of this clause unless it is quantified and defined as tightly as possible. It is barely conceivable that the jobs can not be filled from residents of the ward in which the development is situated if another effort is applied by the applicant and Employment Leeds so the reference at 6.2.2 to Leeds administrative area is superfluous. Reference to Construction Yorkshire which specialises in getting local people jobs and raining placements in the construction phase of development would strengthen this clause.
2. There is concern that developers fail to meet the employment and training requirements under s 106 agreements in Leeds. Can the Panel insist that both the precise numbers agreed and achieved on this development are reported back to he Panel and, therefore, made public?
3. There is concern locally particularly in the context of the slow progress by the applicant in developing its store in Middleton that planning permission may be granted but then there are considerable delays in proceeding with the approved development. Can the Panel insist that time limits for starting and completing the construction of the store which are shorter than the lifetime of normal planning approvals are included in any approval?
4. At peak times, especially in the late afternoon rush hour, traffic going east along Old Lane can back up as far as the Post Office and this will be worsened by this development. There is also a problem at this time of day with traffic traveling north on Dewsbury Road and queuing to turn east onto the Ring Road, Beeston Park to Middleton. More thought needs to be given to how traffic management at the Tommy Wass junction can be further improved.
I intend to publish this email on the South Leeds Life blog and will publish your reply to the points I have made. I appreciate that, to avoid prejudicing your consideration of the planning applications to which I refer, you may not be able to respond until after the Panel has determined the applications.