posted 25 Nov 2012, 09:28 by Westover Labour
As the deadline for the initial tranche of objections to the Tesco plans to build a megastore on  the Brewery field approaches, the Bridgwater Heritage Group have added their informed weight to the campaign against the inappropriate development .

Welcoming the objection, Westover Councillor Brian Smedley said " People have been surprised so far to note that the Giant Tesco shed won't even include the demolished Splash swimming pool site but will in fact largely include the green space of the Brewery Field plus the historically significant County Council buildings of the Enterprise centre and the former Northgate workhouse" (pictured) .

The objections are summarised below.

Protection of Recreational Open Space

1. The proposed development contravenes Saved Policy RLT1 - the protection of Recreational Open Space. The site is designated  on the
SDLP Inset Map no. 1a for Bridgwater Town Centre.

The development results in the loss of recreational open space and should not be permitted.
a) The existing sports and recreation facilities are not retained and enhanced through the redevelopment of a small part of the site;
b) A replacement facility of equivalent sports and/or recreation benefit is not made available;
c) The proposed development provides sports and/or recreation facilities of lesser benefit than the long-term recreational value of the open
space that would be lost.

The exceptions are not met under NPPF clause 74 and therefore the existing open space should not be built upon.

 Loss of Heritage assets

2. The application does not contain a Statement of Heritage Assets, therefore fails to meet the criteria set out in NPPF clause 128. The
application should be refused.

There is no evidence of the HER having been consulted, nor any impact assessment made for neighbouring Listed Buildings (e.g. Magistrates'
Court), Monuments (e.g. Chandos Glass Cone) or non-designated Heritage Assets (Blake Hospital). This is contrary to NPPF clause 132.

3. The development site has the potential to include heritage assets with archaeological interest. The local planning authority should have
required the developer to submit an appropriate desk-based assessment and, where necessary, a field evaluation, in accordance with clause 128 of NPPF. This has not been done. It is therefore in contravention of clause 128 of NPPF.

4. The application fails to provide evidence which would enable the LPA to determine the application under NPPF clause 131.

There is no evidence supplied to support the desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of heritage assets; the new development
would not make a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness.

5. The application proposes the total loss of non-designated Heritage Assets without any consideration of their importance. There is no impact
assessment of their loss. This is contrary to clause 135 of NPPF.

6. The application does not meet the requirements of clause 140 of NPPF in that the benefits (if any) would not result in the future
conservation of heritage assets in the area.

7. The impact on the Conservation Area is not considered or acknowledged. This is contrary to NPPF clause 137.

Those elements of the setting that make a positive contribution to or better reveal the significance of the assets are not provided by these
proposals, The setting as seen from both arms of the Conservation Area, north and south, and the view out from within the Conservation Area,
have not been considered and will be adversely affected by these proposals.

Unlikely to ensure economic well-being

8. The development is not sustainable as it will not reinforce the vitality and viability of local shops, thus contravening Strategic
Objective SO4 and associated policies of the Core Strategy.

9. The proposal is unlikely to ensure economic well-being as it does not increase opportunities in higher wage sectors (Tesco employs staff below the living wage). It does not meet the Strategic Objective SO6 and associated policies of the Core Strategy.

10. The proposals do not satisfy the Strategic Objective SO7 as they will not directly stimulate town centre regeneration.

11. The proposals do not meet Strategic Objective SO8 as they do not protect and enhance the historic environment.

Poor design  

12. The criteria of Policy D2 of the Core Strategy are not met by these proposals.

The assertion that the plans present a design that will be of architectural merit and will enhance the site is highly questionable.
The main building of is of standard supermarket design with little or nothing that will make it stand out or add a lasting design contribution
to the town in the current proposals.

Moreover, the small retail units are of exceptionally bland design which will add nothing to the local townscape. The series of generic boxes can
in no way be said to be of architectural merit, as is asserted, and make no attempt to be daring in design or to make any sort of nod to the
local vernacular. Compared to the nearby Regency terrace of Angel Crescent they contrast as to be ugly. At the very least, the Angel Place
shopping centre makes some effort with the local vernacular in terms of materials used. Each design element, supermarket and the small retail
units, could be found anywhere in these islands and are unremarkable.

This development also contravenes the principles set out in NPPF clause 63.

Permission should be refused under NPPF clause 64 (development of poor design that fails to take the opportunities available for improving the
character and quality of an area and the way it functions).

13. Policy D13 of the Core Strategy is not met by these proposals in that they
- do not improve the vitality and viability of the centre;
- do not enhance the image of the centre;
- do not encourage convenient and accessible local shopping facilities;
- are not compatible with the scale and character of the location.

14. The proposals do not conform to Policy D20 of the Core Strategy.

Green Infrastructure is not safeguarded by the proposals. The Brewery field and green edges will not be improved, enhanced and added to, the
amenity, landscape character and the image of the area will not be preserved; they do not result in  protection and enhancement of parks
and gardens, play areas, sports pitches, and recreation ground.

Not sustainable

15. Policy P1 is not satisfied by these proposals.

The new development is not of the highest quality in terms of sustainability and design and it does not celebrates the town’s past
whilst signposting its new future.

16. In respect of Policy P2, there is scant evidence to suggest that the proposals will regenerate the town centre,  and deliver high quality
public realm improvements, whilst taking into account important views of and to landmarks. Similar assertions were said of other developments
e.g. Asda, and proved groundless.

The development is outside the Primary and Secondary elements of the Retail Hierarchy of the Core Strategy. Whilst it is anticipated that the
Town Centre may be extended, we are assured by Mr Tait that it has not been yet. Hence, this represents a development outside the hierarchy, yet no justification is given for it, nor is any statement provided which sets out that it meets the requirement of Policy P2 as is necessary.

Although Policy P2 does not appear to be satisfied, the application additionally
- fails to demonstrate the highest quality design and sustainability standards;
- fails to provide new spaces and buildings that encourage enjoyment, activity, and create a sense of place;
- fails to provide enhancement of Brewery Field to provide multi use high quality green space.

Influenced by tidal rise

17. Saved Policy CNE16  (Groundwater Protection Zones and Aquifers) is not satisfied, in that aquifers are not adequately researched and
identified within the Delta-Simons Environment DBA. For instance, there is no mention of well/borehole abstraction by Starkey, Knight & Ford,
and any residual effects (which may be at least moderate) on the secondary B aquifer. The excavations for the basement car park may
affects the aquifer, as well as it being influenced by tidal rise.

The recommendations (p 18) of the report are insufficient to ensure compliance with the policy.

We consider that there are sufficient grounds listed here for you to refuse this application, and we encourage you to do so.

Bridgwater Heritage Group