Old Mill Road plans suffer setback

PUBLISHED: 07:20 09 January 2019 | UPDATED: 07:20 09 January 2019

An artist's impression of what the new-look Old Mill Road would look like. Picture: Standard Life Investments.

An artist's impression of what the new-look Old Mill Road would look like. Picture: Standard Life Investments.

Standard Life Investments.

Demolition plans for Portishead’s industrial hub would ‘seriously exacerbate’ issues on the town’s roads, according to travel experts.

An artist's impression of what the new-look Old Mill Road would look like. Picture: Standard Life Investments.An artist's impression of what the new-look Old Mill Road would look like. Picture: Standard Life Investments.

North Somerset Council’s highways and transport officers have called for Aberdeen Standard Investments’ (ASI) proposal to bulldoze the warehouses in Old Mill Road to be refused due to a significant shortage of parking and concerns over pedestrian access.

ASI – which has taken on Standard Life Investments – applied to the authority in July to raze the industrial estate and replaced it with 350 homes, a cinema and restaurants. But the plans have been met with widespread criticism.

Delays in securing planning permission prompted ASI to grant occupiers a three-year lease extension in December, just months before they were due to be evicted.

And the blueprints have received yet more scrutiny from council experts, who believe the designs fall almost 400 parking spaces below the required standard and Portishead’s motorists would suffer if the development was to go ahead.

The highways department has recommended the plans are refused, and its comments will guide planning officers in their final verdict on the application.

A report penned by development control case officer David Tate said: “There are a number of shortcomings with the assessment of parking.

“While the residential element of the development looks to meet the absolute minimum provision of one parking space per home, the non-residential element falls significantly short of the requirement.

“Portishead has a particular issue with on-street parking and the proposals would be likely to seriously exacerbate this.

“There is likely to be a considerable shortfall in parking spaces of at least 390 spaces against the gross parking requirement.”

Mr Tate’s examination of the plans also uncovered access issues for pedestrians and cyclists.

He added: “The site layout does not provide a convenient walking and cycling route.

“The broad boulevard which leads from Sainsbury’s to the 
east into the Old Mill Lane retail park has several pinch points and the route is crossed by HGV routes.

“Old Mill Lane retail park is a rather narrow and indirect walking route to the High Street.

“Dedicated space for pedestrians should be included at all access points to the site.”

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