Skelton residents have expressed concerns over a planning application from Terrace Hill, made to Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council for the erection of a 24 hour, ‘out of centre’ Class A1 food store.
The plan is to build a superstore, on two floors and under one roof, with car parking for more than 300m vehicles and a petrol filling station.
The proposed development would be built on agricultural land, owned by Wharton Estates, North of Skelton Industrial Estate, South of the A174. It is not clear at this moment in time if the tenant on the land has already vacated or has been asked to vacate.
A leaflet was distributed to selected homes in the Skelton and Brotton areas, yet the catchment’s area for the development on the proposal states it is expected to attract 75% of customers from the Skelton, Brotton, Loftus and Saltburn areas. The leaflet was designed to find out how the residents felt about such a development.
A public meeting was held and these were the issues that arose as a result of it.
These are extracts taken from a letter sent to Planning Services at Belmont House, Guisborough.
Public Consultation Issues
- The Public Exhibition was held in Skelton Civic Hall from 11am-6pm on Friday 27 May. It is particularly unfortunate that this was the start of a busy bank holiday weekend and also the beginning of the school holidays. As a result many residents were unable to attend. I received notification of the exhibition five working days before the event and thus could not arrange holiday cover at work nor contact my parents who were on holiday. I contacted a Terrace Hill representative to request an alternative Public Exhibition date or an extension on the day to 8pm but was informed this was not possible.
- Given the scale of the proposed development there was a surprising lack of information on the display boards. We were advised that further details would be made available after the planning application was raised. At no point was it made clear that the Public Exhibition and response forms represented the sole public consultation. One would expect a large-scale development would involve initial plans followed by an opportunity to discuss any concerns at a later date with the developers.
- There appears to be an inconsistency in the number of questionnaires delivered to each household. Some households with four occupants, for example, received one response form whilst other households with only two occupants received two leaflets. Can you confirm how the developer selected which households should receive a response form and, indeed, how may forms they should receive?
- The public response form included a box for respondents to tick if they did not wish to receive any further information on the proposed development. I therefore expected to be informed when the application was raised but I have not had any further communication from the applicant.
- The planning application defines the primary catchment area for the proposed development as Skelton, Brotton, Loftus and Saltburn yet response forms were only distributed to some households in Skelton and Brotton. There is a genuine concern that all those within the primary catchment area may not have been made aware of the proposal and thus unable to voice their opinion during the Public Consultation period.
Concerned residents told Coastal View about the impact they felt such a development would have in their area.
“It would be valuable agricultural land lost and there are bound to be environmental issues. Why couldn’t it be built on Skelton Industrial Estate, where there are lots of open spaces, making it closer to the village centre?” said one resident.
Another added: “It could mean the death of the high street, with so many businesses at risk and then we would end up with lots of virtual shops like they have in Redcar. Virtual shops are no good to the residents who use them at the moment.”
One resident has spoken to the local PCSO about this problem and expressed concerns about the possible rise in Anti Social Behaviour due to the 24 hour opening together with sale of cheap alcohol.
These matters will be discussed at the Parish Council meeting to be held on July 18th, where residents have asked for this matter to be added to the agenda. We will inform you as to the outcome of this meeting on our website and in the next issue of the paper.
Such are the objections to these plans; the residents have started petitions, which can be found in most high street shops in Skelton and Saltburn. Already hundreds of people have signed the petition, which has to be handed in by July 29th.
The application is expected to be discussed at the Council’s September meeting.
One person summed up the whole issue when they told us: “What price are we prepared to pay for a petrol station on our doorstep?”
If you would like to add your name to a petition, or make some comment about this then go to our website at www.coastalviewandmoornews.co.uk and we will be happy to pass on the information to the organisers or call into your local shop on the high street.