A POPULAR food store is set to move into a city retail park despite fears it could bring further traffic misery to residents.
Members of Worcester City Council’s planning committee backed proposals which will see M&S Simply Food store take over a redundant part of Halfords at Elgar Retail Park.
But the application, which was discussed at a meeting last Thursday (December 19), sparked concerns about the impact on Blackpole Road which residents said is already heavily congested.
Norman James, of Salters Close, who spoke out at the meeting, also believes the retail park’s car park would not be able to cope with the increase in traffic with the addition of the food store.
“I have deep concerns, which is shared by many of the local residents, about the effect of the brand name as it will have significant detrimental effect on our amenity,” he said.
“We have reached a tipping point with traffic at the moment and with M&S coming which is a well-known name we are going to get a lot more cars. We will have a really serious traffic problems.”
His concerns were echoed by Coun Alan Amos, councillor for the area, who felt the change would see more people travelling to the site which contains nine units.
“M&S Simply Food is going to be very popular, so there is going to be more car parking spaces need than there is at the moment, so it is my belief it is going to lead to an increase in cars,” he said.
However, Alan Coleman, senior planning officer, said popularity was not something which could used to base a decision on as the application was not for a change of use.
Steven Rose, of planning agents’ Indigo, recognised the potential traffic problems but added: “We talk about an area which has Blackpole Retail Park,
Elgar Retail Park and Sainsbury’s and this will be a slight change to one unit.
“It will be a popular store and I have no doubts it will do very well, but I don’t think it will cause, and the highways authority agree, the traffic problems you are worried about.”
Meanwhile, many councillors welcomed the addition of M&S, including Coun Robert Rowden who said: “It does seem to me that there is a site there which is not in use and there is a reputable company coming along waiting to use it which seems to be a very good idea.”
An M&S spokesman said they were keen to expand in the city when the right opportunity arose.
What do you think? Would the new store add to the traffic problems? E-mail email@example.com with your thoughts.