While reviewing these pages, I noticed that I failed to mention the interest and visit we received from the local media – following the meeting of the PDC on 14th March, articles appeared the following week in both the Sale and Altrincham Advertiser and the Messenger newspapers, both reporting a Councillor’s description of Asda as “neighbours from hell”, and both printing pictures illustrating the problems. Much was made of the fact that many of the committee were highly critical of the site, condemning it as a disgrace and pointing out that a fire exit was blocked. It was also noted that “Asda did not speak at the meeting.” Perhaps they had already been informed that there was no need? Whether these articles were influential in producing the site meeting just a few days later may just be conjecture…
20th August 2013 and another meeting; on this occasion – following an invitation from myself and the Councillors – we had the company of our Member of Parliament, Paul Goggins. Unfortunately, due to a prior engagement, only one Councillor was able to attend, but we were also graced once more with the company of the reporter from the Sale and Altrincham Advertiser who had maintained contact with us since the previous visit, and had expressed her desire to “do a follow-up story”. The meeting commenced at my house with neighbours from each side also here, with first a “photo-shoot” of those present followed by an explanation to Paul Goggins of the history of this site and a discussion about the latest proposals. We all stressed that given the history, all of Asda’s proposals – and the Planning Office’s suggestions – could not solve anything, while our clear and repeated requests were being continually ignored. It was also emphasised once again that a now primary necessity was for the lockers to be removed. However, the main part of the conversation repeatedly returned to the latest proposals, with Paul Goggins suggesting that the Planning Office should be pressed to ensure that residents’ concerns and wishes be acted on. The reporter and photographer having left, Paul Goggins, the Councillor and we residents then walked round to view the petrol station site and relevant boundary areas, also entering and viewing the park across the road in order to compare site levels. After some further discussions, Paul Goggins and the Councillor then took their leave and departed.
Two days later (Thursday) we received a telephone call from Philip Bartram, explaining that he was totally aware of our wishes, and that he intended to immediately contact their architects and have amended plans submitted – these were apparently emailed to the Planning Office the following Tuesday morning (after Bank Holiday). We are now awaiting their appearance on Trafford’s website.
28th August 2013
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A letter from Paul Goggins MP has arrived today, to 'let me know' that he has "written again to ASDA regarding the delivery vehicles...." - unfortunately, as on the day of his visit, despite our repeated comments, he has drifted away from the main problem - i.e. the presence of the collection lockers, which are the central cause of the problem with the delivery vans. It would appear that he is happy to be fobbed off with Philip Bartram's stock reply - however, as Mr. Goggins has told me not to hesitate to contact him again, I will once again remind him of our primary requirement.
21st September 2013
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A couple of weeks before the last update, I received an email from the Planning Office case officer, advising me that revised plans had (finally) been placed on the Trafford website, and also mentioning that "Comments are still to be received by the Council’s Highways Officer and I am hopeful that the application can be viewed at the next available Committee meeting which is 10th October."
In light of the first remark, I emailed the Highways
Office to verify earlier statements made by the Planning Office regarding
parking requirements, to point out the numerous discrepancies, falsehoods and
misrepresentations in Asda's submissions, and to detail the actual current
practices and conditions, including a link - http://w_b_rowntree.madasafish.com/AsdaTanker_08Sep13_xvid.avi
Fourteen days later (24 September) I received a reply from the Senior Development Control Engineer, wherein she thanked me for my information and that "...it was very useful.", and that she had "incorporated some of the comments .... into her LHA consultation...".
She also clearly stated that "Whilst the LHA saw
the intention was to create an ASDA petrol station, there was no increase in
floorspace. The increased level of parking space required within the site
was justified and requested for the click and collect facility...."
The very next day, I received another email from the
Senior Development Control Engineer, wherein she 'apologised' for the
"misleading information provided previously", and stated that there
was "..a very small increase in floorspace" ( in fact 38%
increase!) was the reason for the increase in required parking spaces, and
while "provision of 8 car parking spaces would not have been required
for the click and collect lockers on their own ...... there would have been
some parking requirements generated by the Click and Collect facility."
I was also advised that my email had been forwarded
onto the Planning Case Officer for their information.
Following this second email, nothing further has been
received from the Highways Office, despite my sending further emails.
As the second email describes this case as
"quite a complicated one and (the writer's) memory is a little hazy"
and subsequently contradicts almost every statement made in the first email, it
would appear that the writer (the Senior Development Control Engineer!) has
originally replied to me without consulting the Planning Office, has
inadvertently divulged information that for some reason the Planning Office
wished withheld, and she has subsequently been ordered to "correct"
The application was not included in the Committee
meeting on 10th October - only after emailing the case officer was I informed
that "The Council is still discussing the various issues of the site with
the applicants and their agents.", and that I will be notified in due
As to my reminder to Paul Goggins (sent 23rd Sep)
highlighting the lockers as the major issue - no reply to date….
Communications from Councillors since the meeting
with Paul Goggins and the Advertiser - 27th August, clarification
of boundary trellis; since then - no reply to date.....
Perhaps they’ve all lost interest - or have been otherwise influenced ?
19 October 2013
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An interesting development - on Tuesday 22nd October, from about 2pm, two visitors to the site spend some time inspecting the lockers and the surrounding area, then disappear toward the office block for an hour. On returning, they go into the shop (office?) for a while, after which one departs while the other sits in his car in the far bay until 8:15pm!
On the totally unreasonable and obsessive assumption (?) that some form of monitoring exercise was being carried out, I emailed the Planning Office and the Highways Office to ask whether this was so, and whether on behalf of or instigated by either office - the Planning Case officer replied on 24th October that a meeting had taken place between the Council and Asda representatives on 7th October (over two weeks earlier!) "to go through the issues raised by the Council, the Local Highway Authority and neighbouring occupiers" and "it was advised that further monitoring would be required in order to achieve the most appropriate management of the site." As a result, he therefore "expected" that the examination of the site was in response to this. Once the information has been received, neighbouring properties will be notified......
....as we were regarding the meeting on 7th October?
No reply from the Highways Office has been received as yet - they will be asked again, especially as the Planning Case Officer appears uncertain as to who actually instigated the examination....
It is very interesting that deliveries were at a minimum after 2pm, with only ONE Asda van appearing - and parking on the far side of the pump filling points! Additionally, the fuel tanker stood for ten minutes next to the car wash before manouevring (very circumspectly on this occasion!) into position. This was no doubt due to the relevant lane NOT being "coned off" prior to his arrival, and the subsequent necessity to clear all other vehicles so that the optimum approach could be made - rather than the normal near-miss that occurs normally, as occurred the next day and is shown below.
Obviously, it is imperative that any observers/monitors should be able to say in utter and complete honesty that during their visit(s), all desired and prescribed procedures are complied with. Naturally, one way to achieve this is to advise all relevant personnel of any such inspection/monitoring visits - previous occasions when councillors, our M.P., news reporters, senior management and etc. have visited have all been marked with a dearth of deliveries during that time.
Unfortunately(!), residents have long witnessed and remarked upon these coincidences, and abundant pictorial evidence has also accumulated to depict the true situation as it is, all day and every day, rather than during a stage-managed five hour period on one of the quieter days of the week.
24 October 2013
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Having kept a diary - excepting twenty-three days of holiday away from this …….. (enter your choice of description!) - we have been subjected to well over 2700 delivery/service vehicles and fuel tankers - actually on site - although such as parcel collection/delivery services were not originally included, while any that park off-site have never been included.
While delivery lorries and/or fuel tankers are not now arriving as late (up to 11pm), they still arrive as early as 7am, while smaller vans still call as late as 10pm - but then the site commenced closing 11pm to 6am from June....
Further to the "visitors" on 22nd October, the Highways Department finally replied on 4th November also seconding the Planning Case officer's "expectation", but at the same time stating "The highways section has not carried out any large scale monitoring on the site but we continue to keep an eye on the site." - is that a yes or a no?
03 December 2013