Search - Issues
Search - Articles and Content
Search - Documents

Aldi Consultation graphic

 

Taking residents' views into account, Thames Ditton & Weston Green Residents' Association has submitted the following letter of objection to the Aldi application (2021/3857) for a foodstore on the old Guy Salmon site on Portsmouth Road.

Elmbridge Borough Council's Planning Department is inviting comments on the application by 14 January 2022.

 

 

 


Letterhead scanned colour LR

Ditton Cottage  
Giggs Hill Road 
Thames Ditton  
Surrey  KT7 0BT

Planning Services
Elmbridge Borough Council
Civic Centre
High Street
Esher  KT10 9SD

04 January 2022  

 Dear Sir/Madam,

Objection: 2021/3857 - 47 Portsmouth Road Thames Ditton Surrey KT7 0TA

I write on behalf of the Thames Ditton and Weston Green Residents’ Association to support the large number of local residents in their objections to the above application.

As an association, we fully support the redevelopment of this ‘brownfield’ site, and recognise that development on sites such as this help to take pressure off our precious greenbelt, and other ‘greenfield’ sites. Nevertheless, given the minimum housing need in Elmbridge of 626 dwellings per annum, as identified in the March 2020 Assessment of Local Housing Needs, and given that Thames Ditton and the immediate locality is already well served by supermarkets, we feel that a supermarket would not make the best use of this site, and that a residential, or at the very least mixed-use development would be preferable. With small supermarkets within walking distance of the site in Thames Ditton High Street, Winters Bridge, and Thorkhill Road, and larger ones just down the road in Surbiton, Molesey, and Esher, there is no demonstrable need for another one on this site. Indeed, quite the opposite, as a development such as this would put the existing smaller retailers at risk, threatening the viability of Thames Ditton High Street as a shopping destination, contrary to Elmbridge Core Strategy 18.

We echo the concerns identified by the County Highway Authority regarding traffic safety and pedestrian access to the site. It should be noted that this portion of road is a well-known accident blackspot, currently subject to regular speed enforcement by Surrey Police. Given that the applicants have stated that a large number of shoppers would arrive on foot, and given that a significant proportion of those would be from the other side of the Portsmouth Road, we believe that the proposals regarding pedestrian safety when crossing the road are inadequate. This is not an easy road to cross at the best of times. We also agree with the County Highway Authority that similar sites such as Lidl in Chessington, and Aldi in Ewell routinely generate vehicle queueing in peak hours. This would be especially prevalent when the car park is blocked by delivery lorries. Such queuing would be disastrous to local road safety, especially in the absence of sufficient pedestrian refuges.

Additionally, the proposal for deliveries to the site is an accident waiting to happen. We note the swept analysis provided by the applicants demonstrating that a 13.2m long articulated lorry would be expected to drive into the site, turning right past the front door, stopping just outside the parent and child parking bays. From there, it would be expected to reverse back past the front door again, round the corner into the delivery bay. Such a manoeuvre would be challenging at the best of times, even with a banksman in an empty car park. To attempt such a manoeuvre with a full car park, with children around would seem to be incredibly dangerous. This would not be allowed on a building site without everyone nearby being required to wear high visibility clothing, and without a banksman. This cannot and should not be allowed in a public car park with shoppers around. All it would take would be for a child to run out from the front door, or from behind a car, and we could very easily see a fatality. We are told in the applicants’ transport assessment that an Aldi store typically receives an average of three to four such HGV deliveries per day.

We note that a portion of the site is in the Giggs Hill Green Conservation area, and next to the grade II listed sixteenth century Angel Inn. Despite the applicants’ assertions that they have designed the building in a sympathetic manner to blend in with the local area, it is notable that the only local buildings the applicants can find in the immediate vicinity which bear a resemblance to the proposals are the Thames Ditton Centre and Library, which are poor quality buildings using the now discredited SCoLA prefabricated building system, lying outside the conservation area. We can see no significant differences between the design proposals, and those of other similar Aldi stores, and despite verbose assurances, very little effort has been made to ensure the buildings blend into the locale in terms of scale, massing and design. With a flat roof, prominent illuminated sign outside and car parking to the front, the proposals resemble a poor quality American motel, and would do untold damage to the setting of the Angel Inn and Conservation Area. The redevelopment of the site represents a real opportunity to improve and enhance the conservation area, and these proposals would appear to do the opposite.

Finally, we note the real concerns of residents that back onto the site, who are concerned with the potential for noise from the site at a scale far exceeding the historic use, especially given how close the applicants plan to build to the boundary line, and the hours that they would be planning (including deliveries outside the opening hours they would be operating). The applicants themselves claim that a mixed-use development would be unsuitable, as this would ‘result in noise issues for residents’. Existing residents close to the site should not be expected to put up with something that the applicants themselves note as problematic.

Yours faithfully

Rhodri Richards
Planning Convener
Thames Ditton & Weston Green Residents’ Association