|Waitrose Could Be Coming To Wimbledon|
Council chiefs recommended to back scheme
A new Waitrose store could be built on the former B&Q site in Wimbledon after council officers gave their backing to the controversial plans.
The scheme, for a new store and car park on the Alexandra Road site, now needs approval from councillors at a meeting on Thursday.
In a 49-page report released ahead of the meeting, planning officers of Merton Borough Council have recommended the scheme for approval.
They said it was unlikely the supermarket would hit local businesses, but said it must limit what goods it sells so it cannot incorporate a post office, drycleaners, preparation of formal flower arrangements or a café.
It must also pay £355,000 to improve nearby Leopold Road, where small traders have said they would be affected. This must include new paving, landscaping, street furniture and a street audit focused on "de-cluttering".
The report, which includes research commissioned by the council by planning consultants Nathaniel Litchfield and Partners, claims the supermarket would have no significant impact on Wimbledon town centre.
But Merton Chamber of Commerce said the development would not add any value to the town centre, and conservation group the Wimbledon Society opposed it because of the increased traffic it would bring.
However, there were also 108 letters from individuals supporting the application, while there were 62 letters objecting to the plans.
Some residents were worried about noise, but the report says opening and servicing hours will be restricted and a new 2.4m wall will be built around the service area to replace the existing fence.
The report stated: "The potential impact on the local road network and the Leopold Road neighbourhood parade is considered to be acceptable subject to mitigation through suitable conditions."
July 6, 2010