If it’s all about location, location, location then Lidl has got it wrong at Nailsea.
Nailsea Town Council voted unanimously to reject the plans by low cost supermarket Lidl to build on a town centre car park at its meeting on Wednesday night.
But while councillors dubbed the proposal ‘a tin cow shed’ to be built in the middle of a prominent landscaped parking area they agreed that on another Nailsea site a Lidl or even Aldi store would be welcome.
At the meeting 24 residents turned up to hear the council debate and present a 866-name petition against the plans.
Added to the more than 300 people who attended the town council public meeting on Friday at the Scotch Horn Centre it was in the words of James Mitchell, property director for Lidl UK, an overwhelming rebuff.
The major planning issue is that Lidl instead of adding car parking for staff and customers was in fact depleting spaces currently used by visitors to Crown Glass Shopping Centre and Tower House medical centre.
The lack of designated spaces for motorcycles and disabled drivers and the access for large delivery lorries also concerned councillors.
Another problem was the flora and fauna of the car park especially as some of the 11 threatened mature trees were in the roosting corridors of horseshoe bats.
However Nailsea would still be left with more car parking than Clevedon and Portishead combined, the meeting heard.
Lidl first announced plans for the new store in December 2012 but a formal planning application wasn’t submitted until December 2014 – and put online by the district council just days before Christmas.
Following representations from residents and a round of consultations Lidl has made some minor alterations to its initial plans.
And a deal has been brokered with the property investment owners Ellandi for the freehold of the site including the former petrol filling station area, councillors were told.
Lidl is now proposing a smaller, 1064 sq metre store along with 147 car parking spaces - 51 more than in the original plans.
Shouts of ‘red herring’ greeted the offer to revamp the Station Road car park adding an extra 40 spaces with a revised layout.
As this didn’t form part of the planning application it was ruled out of the discussion by chairman Clare Hunt.
Currently there are 190 spaces in the Crown Glass Place.
Ellandi director Mark Robinson wanted the Lidl scheme to form part of a £10 million regeneration of the town centre but even moving the children’s playground to Clevedon Walk proved contentious with councillors labelling it ‘dangerously inappropriate’.
Resident Sarah Hearne said if the project got the go-ahead the construction on a sloped site would take more than six months.
And another resident Cynthia Dodds said claims that most of the retailers at Crown Glass supported the plans were ‘spurious’ as the greengrocers Birchalls and bakers Greggs were both against.
“Ellandi are doing this for its own benefit – not for the good of the town,” she said.
Councillor David Packham said: “We need to encourage shops in the town centre including Lidl.
“However this application as it is falls short of expectations and given no one has spoken to the medical centre is just extraordinary and probably reflects the way Lidl has taken this whole business.”
Mr Packham added that the review of car parking at Nailsea has highlighted a problem with long term parking which is something this town council needs to examine.
Ann Tonkin said: “I shop at Lidl at least once a month but I don’t think the architecture of the proposal would fit in with the street scene of Stockway South.”
Mary Ponsonsby said: “I think we are well served for supermarkets and I don’t think there is sufficient money in the town for another store.
“An application for a new supermarket must add to existing car parking not take away.”
Mary Blatchford called the plans ‘not thought out’ and although she wasn’t against Lidl coming to Nailsea she was sceptical about deals that had been reneged on by the budget store in other towns.
Jan Barber said: “The main issues for me are the loss of the car parking, the loss of the disabled spaces and the displacement of the car parking.
“Even if they carried it through and Station Road car parking was improved it is quite a long way to walk if you have lots of shopping.
“Another consideration for me is the aesthetics of the building – it will spoil the entrance to the town centre.”
Anita Heappey told the meeting that although she never shopped in Nailsea preferring to go to Bedminster many parents with young children were very much in favour of the Lidl coming to the town.
Liz Frappell said her family had been in the retail trade in Nailsea for more than 70 years and that currently the town was losing out to Portishead.
She felt it was mostly the older generation who didn’t like change who were opposed to the plans.
Neil Middleton said Lidl would need 50 spaces alone for its staff and customers and called for the architect to be sacked.
John Wilson said the car park was designed to be just that by town planners when the shopping centre was built 50 years ago and he was opposed to any change of use.
Making her maiden speech new councillor Jule Petford said: “It is a no-brainer building in the car park.”
Phil Barclay worried about levels of Christ Church Close and Stockway South and said the whole exercise was a money making venture for the owners of the shopping precinct.
Planning and environment chairman James Tonkin summed up the salient points which will be forwarded to North Somerset Council planners who make the final decision.
Loss of 47 car parking spaces;
Loss of disabled car parking spaces;
Loss of motorcycle parking spaces;
Chaos during construction period;
Loss of trees;
Design of building;
No staff car parking;
Potential of bats; and
No liaison with Tower House medical centre.
The new store, if approved, would create 18 new full time equivalent jobs and open from Monday to Saturday from 8am to 9pm and on Sundays from 10am to 4pm.
Nailsea's at-risk heritage
Crown Glass Shopping Centre is inviting entrants for its second win a shop contest worth £25,000.
The prize is a retail unit at Crown Glass Shopping Centre rent, rates and service charge free for a year.
On a bitterly cold winter's day last week the wrapping came off 15 Colliers Walk and details of the compeition were revealed to all and sundry.
Last year's competition saw Emily Richard set up the successful and award-winning Ewe Knit shop.
However, joint winners PartySmartys closed its new shop after only nine months trading.
Owner Fran Hunt decided her party supplies shop was better suited to online trading which she has been doing successfully for the past six years.
The winner will also have access to a range of local retail experts who are on hand to offer business advice from merchandising to business banking.
Each entry will be asked to submit a business plan which will be shortlisted by a panel of judges.
Confirmed judges are Ellandi director Mark Robinson,Waitrose manager Simon Brumby, last year’s winner Emily, North Somerset Times reporter Vicky Angear, Nailsea Town Council clerk Ian Morrell and Janet Hendey, of Wards Solicitors.
The shortlisted entries will then present their retail ideas in a Dragon Den-style interview before the winner is selected.
After the year’s free trading the retailers have an option to enter into a commercial lease with the landlord.
Emily is to continue renting her unit into 2015.
Shopping centre manager Charlotte Jarrett said, “Ellandi’s continued support of initiatives like win as hop for Nailsea, maintains and further improves the retail offer for the town.
"Since their ownership in 2009 we have seen WH Smiths, 99p Stores and a number of independents join our retail mix.
"Win a shop has proven success in placing and supporting local independents into the retail environment.
"There is still great opportunity for start-up businesses at the moment, and it is great that Nailsea is leading the way with our support.”
Becoming a judge Emily said, “it’s great to be the other side of the table!
"I was delighted when I was asked to be involved in the competition this year, it offers such an opportunity for start-up businesses in North Somerset and the support from Crown Glass Shopping Centre and the mentors has been invaluable.I wouldn’t have been in the position to take my business onto the High Street without the support of win a shop and Ellandi offering rent and rates free.
Police are appealing for witnesses to a scuffle in a nightclub in Nailsea High Street in which a man and a woman were assaulted.
It happened at about 1.15am on Saturday, January 24, at Decades.
It’s thought the incident began when a woman launched an unprovoked attack on another woman on the dance floor, leaving her with a bruised face.
A man who intervened was also hit in the face.
Neighbourhood PC 4747 Jason Foster said: “A woman was arrested at the scene and is now on bail, while others are helping us with our enquiries.
"I would like to hear from anyone who was in the club, or who has any other information about the incident.”
Anyone who can help can get in touch online by clicking HERE or by calling 101, quoting reference 8141/15.
Alternatively ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
They never ask your name or trace your call.
Continuing on the retail theme from Monday, February 9, myWaitrose customers need to purchase snack to get free coffee.
www.nailseapeople.com was told they were serving up to 20 free cups daily to Wessex Water employees on morning coffee break!
Tesco home +
Tesco is closing 43 stores across its UK business empire, from inner-city Metro stores to Express branches and Homeplus sites.
Happily Nailsea isn't under threat although a store at Cribbs Causeway is closing.
You can't build it here, say council
English Heritage has put a historic Nailsea coalmine on the ‘at risk’ list.
North Somerset Council own Middle Engine Pit which is one of the country's most complete early 19th century collieries.
English Heritage said it is ‘concerned’ about the site at Golden Valley which has been subjected to ‘neglect, decay and vandalism’.
Many moons ago councillors on a fact-finding tour discovered it daubed in graffiti and was littered with discarded drug paraphernalia.
The coal mine complex, also known as Elms Colliery, was in operation between the 1820s and the 1850s but now is hidden from public view behind an executive housing estate.
It was scheduled as an ancient monument in 1985 and the site includes three Grade-II listed buildings, including an engine house.
English Heritage said it is ‘working closely’ with the council to help restore the site.
At-risk manager Nick Croxson said: “We can stabilise it but it will take a number of years to bring the site back into a usable condition.”
Nailsea Local History Society has long called for the town to have its own museum and heritage trail which could acknowledge its coal and glass industrial past..
Coal-mining was a dangerous occupation with men, women, children - pictured right at another pit - and animals enduring horrendous working conditions leading to many suffering industry-related diseases and ill-health.
Win shop competition
"It has also opened other opportunities for me including taking my business online and running weekly workshops.”
The competition to win 15 Colliers Walk for a year is open to residents of North Somerset and Bristol aged 18 and over.
The deadline is Valentine’s day, February 14.