Monday, 11 May 2009

A Worrying Development

Several small retailers in Worcester Park face an uncertain future under plans to redevelop part of the town centre's shopping area.

If planning consent is granted, a number of businesses could be forced out to make way for the part-demolition and extension of the site at the junction of Central Road and Windsor Road, with other retailers and residents in the block facing months of disruption as works are underway around them.

As well as redevelopment of the retail units, the plans would see the building rise to three storeys high, providing five new two-bedroomed flats and seven new one-bedroomed flats.

The ownership structure of the existing site means that 'Camera Continental' and 'Worcester Park Motor Spares' would remain in place on Central Road.

However, the plans would mean that most of the existing Windsor Road shops including 'Mike's Music', 'Ginger & Garlic' and 'Worcester Sparks' (formerly Powerhouse and now under new management) would be demolished to make way for two larger shopping units.

The proposals have left many of those affected feeling angry about the lack of consultation, with most only learning of the plans when the Sutton Council planning application notices were posted through their doors.

Plans for redevelopment of this site have been turned down in the past, but with a 6-month break clause in the Windsor Road shopkeepers' leases the retailers face uncertainty until the issue of planning permission is decided.

Whilst developers are promoting their proposals as an opportunity to enhance the local shopping scene and improve a 'run down' site in the town centre, one must question the wisdom of forcing out small independent retailers to make way for larger units (with more expensive rents) when the number of empty shop units in the area is already at an all-time high.

Full details of the plans can be viewed on Sutton Council's online planing portal. Consultation on the redevelopment ends this Friday (15th May).

12 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

SC said...

Isn't redeveloping that site a good thing though? I can see it doing well as a Starbucks or Café Nero or something. And let's be honest, we need more space for charity shops...

Ian Morris said...

Personally I'm in favour of this proposal. That part of WP has been looking tired and run down for years and I think it shows more with the new Pizza express building and library just across the road from it.

The Colonel said...

What we need in this new development is another KFC to service the needs of the other side of the high street. Why should the good folk of streets such as Windsor, Hampton, Lynwood etc be expected to have to cross Cenral Road to get their hands on my Boneless Deluxe Box and Avalanche?

Worcester Park said...

SC, Ian: Any development to improve WP town centre is a good thing, but what concerns me is the proposal for two larger retail units in place of the four small ones on Windsor Road. This could very well force out the small independent retailers who can only justify/afford the lower rents of these units. Look at the number of larger Central Road shop units that lie empty, as I fear the same fate could await the Windsor Road parade.

Colonel: I take your point, but then the chicken would not have to cross the road.

David said...

As I live close to the proposed development what worries me most is whether any extra parking will be provided for the 12 new flats? More than likely not, leading to more congested side roads and inconsiderate parking no doubt. We don't need two large retail units as previously stated - there are too many empty shops already in WP. Even estate agents have closed down for goodness sake!

Ian said...

It's a pretty run-down site, and redeveloping it should benefit WP. I agree about the parking though - 7 one bed and 5 two bed flats will need more than 8 parking spaces. So many of the roads around here are effectively single-lane anyway because of parking on both sides, the last thing we need is more parking congestion.

Anonymous said...

The proposals say that there will be only five additional car parking spaces, shared between twelve extra flats!

The developers seem to think that because the flats are small and in the town centre the residents would be less likely to have cars, but I don't think that will be the case.

Just imagine what the additional cars (residents plus visitors) will do to the surrounding roads.


Anonymous said...

I believe that - under planning law - they are supposed to provide one private parking space per household and visitors' parking bays.

The problem is that many households will have more than one car and the visitors nowhere to park because the multi-car households will bag these places.

You'll likely find that the old geezers in their Wates semis will park in the new bays - despite them being private and away from their homes. Collecting old bangers seems to be an over-60s Worcester Park thing.

Paul B said...

I have lived so close to here for the past ten years that the builders will be able to pop in for breakfast, I do agree that the development will be good for the area but the council have refused to do anything for us that live above the shops here. The council gave all glass bins etc but refused us the green bins etc due to our location, they have refused to aide lighten up the rear of this area and when ever we complain about the rubbish they say its private property we cant do anything.
I tried to get some lighting and the rear road looked at (sighting the grounds of health and safety) there response was "as soon as we do that the owner can claim that as we took up maintenance it is now our responsability to maintain it and of cause its private land"
although in the eyes of the law (road traffic act) it clearly states that if the general public has access to the road (ie:no barrier) it becomes a public road.
As for the parking having viewed the plans i dont really understand where the parking spaces are appearing from in the rear but im just looking at the area not measuring it. As for the last quote on this that as most will be one bedroom flats and therefore most of these people want have cars, this is rediculous as i was single once with a works van, a car and a motorbike also if the plans are to sell the flats which i dont know? Im sure that if they can afford a flat a car wont be much of a problem

Bexx Bissell said...

We are lucky to have a music store, and electrical store, a camera shop or a motor spares shop; plenty of towns now have none of these. If Mike’s Music and Worcester Sparks have to leave will they re-open elsewhere in the town? I fear they probably won’t, but hope to be proved wrong. I don’t suppose Camera Continental and Worcester Park Motor Spares will have their trade boosted by being in the midst of a building site either.

Outraged said...

I went into Mike's records once and the chap behind the counter was incredibly rude to me.

So I won't shed a tear if that tatty old place gets closed down.

The Colonel said...

I bet he didn't even offer you a Fillet Zinger meal either!

Post a Comment

The Worcester Park Blog welcomes your comments and opinions!