Saturday, 7 March 2015

Help protect Saltaire shops from a new Sainsbury's store

I have just objected to the planning application from Sainsbury's to open a new store in Saltaire - my letter to Martyn Burke at the planning office in Bradford is copied below.

Anyone can comment, of course, in several ways:

  • Comment online via the planning portal at
  • Write to Martyn Burke, the Council’s planning officer (post to Planning Office, Bradford Council, 2nd Floor South, Jacob’s Well, Bradford, BD1 5RW)
  • Email Martyn Burke at
  • Please ensure that you comment individually, as joint comments submitted by several people only count as a single response.

Dear Martyn,


Objection to Sainsbury’s planning application 15/00819/FUL

Bingley Road, Saltaire


I am writing to you to object to the planning application for a new supermarket on Bingley Road in Saltaire.

I am objecting on three grounds: (1) the likelihood that the new building will add to local noise pollution; (2) the additional traffic and parking nuisance that will be generated if this proposal goes ahead; and (3) the adverse impact that this development will have on local businesses and the economic viability of Saltaire.

I am particularly concerned about the impact of this development on the amenity of nearby residential homes on Grosvenor Road and Grosvenor Avenue.


Noise Pollution.


First, deliveries to the store will take place throughout the store’s operating hours. Deliveries could therefore be arriving at 7am and leaving at 11pm. Indeed, if Asda’s delivery arrangements in Shipley are anything to go by, deliveries could be parked near the store earlier than 7am waiting to unload, with engines running. Delays in unloading, as is inevitable from time to time, could also result in activity at the site beyond 11pm. All of this traffic activity will inevitably have an adverse impact on the amenity of nearby residents.

I am also concerned that the operation of this facility will result in overnight noise pollution for neighbouring residential homes. The refrigeration plant will operate for 24 hours a day, unlike the existing car wash. The Plant Noise report shows that the noise of the external plant will be quite close to existing night time noise levels “providing it is well maintained”. However, my experience in other contexts (the impact of Asda’s external plant in Shipley town centre a few years ago, and the operation of Shipley Pool prior to its refurbishment) is that nearby residential properties can be adversely affected by the noise of external plant. It is reasonable to assume that this equipment will not operate as perfectly as its design suggests it should and, let’s face it, proper maintenance is not guaranteed. Much depends as well on the direction of the wind, as this can boost local noise pollution considerably.

Unsustainable transport and pedestrian safety


I am concerned about the transport implications of this proposal and, in particular, the impact of frequent vehicle movements across a well-used pedestrian route. Parking will also be an issue.

There are several planning considerations that need to be borne in mind in in this context.


*      The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) “recognises the importance of promoting developments which encourage travel by sustainable transport”, that proposals need “to be balanced in favour of sustainable transport modes, giving people a real choice about how they travel”, and that “encouragement should be given to solutions which support reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reduce congestion”.

*      Replacement Unitary Development Policy UDP7 states the aim of “promoting improved accessibility through enabling the use of public transport, cycling and walking and reducing the dependency on the private car”.

*      The West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan 3 (LTP3) 2011-2026 commits Bradford Council to “making it easier to access places, services and amenities by sustainable means” and to “reducing congestion and supporting greener fuel technologies”.


The applicant acknowledges that the proposed development will increase the number of cars accessing the site compared to the current operation of the car wash. According to the data provided, the extra two-way vehicle movements could be 62 per weekday peak hour and 38 per Saturday peak hour. This extra traffic add to local congestion: 40-60% of these trips on weekday peak periods will be newly generated by the store, rising to 55% to 75% at weekends.[1]

More importantly, the extra traffic will also result in a significant number of vehicle movements in and out of the site across a well-used pedestrian route linking Saltaire with the nearby residential streets. This is also a key route for parents walking their children to the local primary schools. While waiting to access the queueing traffic on the main road, these vehicles will be parked directly across the line of pavement. I already receive regular complaints from residents about cars queueing to access, and exit from, the car wash; this development will inevitably exacerbate this problem.

These extra traffic movements will start far earlier in the morning than is currently the case with the existing car wash, and go on far later into the evening, impeding pedestrian journeys at those times as well.

Parking is another serious concern. It is reasonable to assume that a proportion of these vehicles will not, in fact, park on site in front of the store as the application anticipates, but will use Grosvenor Road instead - particularly if these drivers already use Grosvenor Road for their journeys and wish to make a short stop at the store en route. This will result in additional car engine and door banging disturbance for nearby residents from 7am to 11pm.

I accept that the highway network will be able to ‘absorb’ these additional vehicles, but Saltaire is already blighted with all-day traffic congestion and a range of related traffic nuisance issues including significant rat-running and speeding traffic plus parking problems. These proposals will make a bad situation worse, and increase high carbon travel and pollution at a time when the Council is committed to decarbonising our economy. So, yet again, we are faced with proposals that actively degrade our ability to decarbonise our lives.

As far as I can tell from the documents available on the planning portal, the proposed development neither includes any sheltered cycle stands nor mentions the provision of any electric vehicle charging points.

I would ask colleagues to bear in mind that Policy TM2 of the Replacement UDP makes it clear that planning permission will not be granted if proposed developments “adversely affect existing and proposed transport infrastructure or services” and that “where proposals have a detrimental impact on the transport network, planning permission will not be granted”. I would argue that these additional car journeys will place additional stress on the local road network and the amenity of residents and non-car users, and I hope that colleagues will take Policy TM2 into consideration.


Unsustainable economy


My third concern is the negative impact of this new supermarket on the economic resilience of Saltaire.

The Replacement UDP states that the Council will “as far as it is possible” encourage the growth of independent specialty shops in places like Saltaire on the grounds that “a preponderance of such shops helps to keep a centre vibrant and prosperous and lend charm and individuality in a way that enhances its character and makes a shopping trip to that centre different from a trip to any other.” The Replacement UDP goes on to state that the Council will therefore “seek to support the retention and growth of independent retailers.”

In my view, the proposal undermines the aims stated above. For example, the applicants assert that the store will create new jobs, but do not specify how many of these jobs will be part-time or how many other jobs will be lost in Saltaire as other shops close or reduce their staffing levels as a result of the diversion of retail footfall that this new store will trigger. This application does not offer the quantity or quality of work to local people that it claims.

New supermarkets reduce footfall at local shops and this new store will divert trade from existing shops in Saltaire at a time when many are already struggling in the wake of the economic downturn. We know that hundreds of thousands of small, locally-owned businesses have been driven out of the UK retail market in recent decades. Local communities have been ‘hollowed out’ economically and homogenised in terms of the retail offer available to local residents. The insidious impact of this erosion of local identity has left us denuded of a sense of pride in our immediate economic communities and lacking control over our economic futures as a result and this proposed new supermarket can only exert additional economic pressure on Saltaire’s remaining independent traders.

Moreover, the new store’s turnover is far less likely to be ‘recycled’ in Saltaire than would be the case if this money was being spent by shoppers in locally-owned stores. Money spent in a locally-owned store is three times more likely to be spent locally by that retailer than is the case with money spent at chain stores such as Sainsbury’s.

I hope that you will bear these comments in mind as you assess this application. I would also request, if officers are minded to recommend approval, that the application is considered by the area planning panel of councillors.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Warnes (Shipley Ward Councillor)

[1] I note that these figures are based on the operation of larger food stores; but the adjusted figures provided by the applicants remain significant and it is not clear that they are based on robust data from elsewhere.

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