DCSIMG

IN FULL: Why Milton Keynes Council oficers have recommended Primark plans should be refused

An artists impression of how the Primark development would look

An artists impression of how the Primark development would look

EARLIER today (Tuesday), it was revealed that plans for a new Primark in CMK have been recommended for refusal by council planning officers.

The proposals, which would also see Secklow Bridge demolished and the market moved, will still be considered by Milton Keynes Council’s planning committee on February 21.

The committee is not bound by officer’s recommendations.

Full details of the reasons put forward by the officers can be seen on the council website.

We have re-produced their main recommendations here:

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that planning permission be refused for the reasons set out

at the end of this report.

CONSIDERATIONS

> The Government’s response to the Mary Portas Review states that local authorities should view markets as an integral part of the vision for their town centres and they should remove unnecessary barriers that may hinder or deter potential traders. The NPPF includes specific policies to retain, enhance and promote new markets in town centres. Paragraph 23 of the NPPF states that LPA should retain and enhance existing markets and ensure that markets remain attractive and competitive.

> Milton Keynes Council appointed Quarterbridge to advise on the proposed relocation MK Market. The brief to Quarterbridge was as follows:

– Evaluate the viability of the market relocation as shown in the current proposal, taking account of the alternative sites available.

– Evaluate the proposal in light of is functionality and relationship to existing public transport receptors and footfall patterns in the area. This should include comment specifically on the juxtaposition of the public transport to the proposed market having regard to markets in other towns/city’s and give at least three examples.

– If no further information is required to make a full assessment provide a report outlining if the location of the market as proposed is the most viable option and advising if it can function given its proximity to public transport receptors.

– Provide written comments in the form of a draft letter identifying and outlining any additional information required to provide a full evaluation of the relocation costs.

The resulting ‘Quarterbridge Report’ concluded that the design fails to address many of the most fundamental requirements for the proper operational management of a new market and the safety of operational staff, traders and shoppers; it attempts to create as much trading space as possible as cheaply as possible on as small a site as possible and in the process introduces unnecessary health and safety risks which could easily be overcome on a more suitable site. The findings of the report were not taken as read by officers (officers disagree with the score for public transport given to the proposed site); however, officers agree with many of the findings of the report.

> Also taken into account are the objections from Highways and Transport officers and the concerns of market traders (including the representation from the National Market Traders Federation). Highways and Transport officers have raised significant concerns regarding potential conflict between market customers and pedestrians and bus users; insufficient access for service vehicles; and operational issues

> The National Market Traders Federation fear that the proposed development and relocation of the market will have a detrimental impact on the market as it would be 40% smaller (stall size will reduce or not all traders will be accommodated); the new location is out of sight from the centre which would drastically reduce footfall; concern that the temporary location will be for two or three years surrounded by construction sites which will adversely affect the amenity and viability of the market; there would be a detrimental impact in terms of the level of employment at the market and also impact on wholesalers; and the market contributes positively to the overall CMK offer.

> In addition, the comments submitted on behalf of Bray Associates (the current market operator) have been taken into account; whilst the current market operator would prefer to remain at the current location the proposed site is the preferred site of alternative sites presented as the site is prominent visibly, has direct access to thecentre:mk, provides quick and easy access for customers arriving by bus and has the potential for increased footfall numbers (especially once Primark is open).

> The Quarterbridge Report found the proposed relocated site to be outranked by most of the alternative sites (the alternative sites considered were those within the applicant’s assessment of alternative sites) in terms of suitability.

The proposed site is too small to accommodate the existing market operation and there is no potential to expand the market operation in the future. There is insufficient detail of proposed stall types and no provision for trailer-borne and ‘casual’ traders. There is no weather protection (the current market receives a degree of weather protection from the bridge). The split of the proposed operational and welfare facilities and the moving of waste across an active public highway along pedestrian routes raises significant and unnecessary Health and Safety risks. The facilities are insufficient for the secure storage of operational equipment such as cleaning machines and waste bins out of trading hours. The proposed WC and welfare facilities are inadequate and fail to comply with statutory requirements. The location of the management office is not conducive to good supervision. The layout provides inadequate vehicular servicing arrangements for traders vehicles and would likely result in conflict with bus services from traders unloading from Midsummer Blvd. The lack of suitable pedestrian and bus user circulation space introduces unnecessary Health and Safety risks and would prevent movement of bus users taking place safely and conveniently.

> The proposed site for the relocated market is simply too small to accommodate the number of stalls proposed; the space for access and vehicular servicing arrangements is unsuitable; there is a lack of space for pedestrians and bus users; and the split of the market compound from the market would not facilitate proper management of the market. The proposal would also compromise potential future developments in the public transport system. Therefore, whilst in principle this central location adjacent to the Shopping Building is acceptable; the space available is simply too small and too constrained to accommodate a market comparable to the existing one. The site may be able to accommodate a much reduced market; however, this

would be contrary to planning policy and would have a significant detrimental economic impact due to reduced trading and job losses.

REASONS

1. The proposed relocated market has a number of serious shortcomings which would result in significant harm to the vitality and viability of MK Market.

The site is too small to accommodate the existing market operation and the range of the existing stalls and there would be no potential to expand in the future. The space for access and vehicular servicing arrangements is unsuitable; there is a lack of space for pedestrians and bus users; a lack of suitable waste management, and the size of the market compound and its separation from the market would not facilitate proper management of the market.

The proposed relocation of the market to the proposed site is therefore contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework

2. The applicant has not included sufficient space within the site for the loading, unloading and manoeuvring of vehicles clear of the highway.

The development if permitted would therefore be likely to lead to the stationing of vehicles on the highway and to vehicles reversing onto or off the highway to the detriment of public highway safety. The proposed relocation of the market to the proposed site is therefore contrary to the National Planning Policy

 

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