The Co-op Problem

Nice shop, shame about the position


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Co-op food store, Albert Road 

Problem solved!

The Co-op have agreed to build a new food store at the entrance to the new Waterhouse estate, adjacent to the Middlewood Way viaduct in Wellington Road. This new store is under construction during the middle part of 2014 and is expected to open in the autumn.


Progress meeting held

A progress meeting for the community affected by the Co-op shop was held on Thursday 20th January 2013 . Just 30 members of the public turned out this time (60 last time). Four CEC councillors were present plus a couple from Bollington Town Council.

A slide show presentation was prepared for the meeting by the Cease Co-op Chaos group but the chairman chose not to allow it. It is available here if you wish to see itExternal link. Please note that it will only display correctly when using Microsoft Internet Explorer.

A number of aspects were on the agenda and these notes made during the discusion (not exhaustive) ...

  • Sunday Trading - the shop is clearly within the law in trading for more than six hours. The trading spce is just over 1,700sqft, limitations only apply for those over 3,000sqft.
  • The cash dispenser is inside the store and a very popular service. It is presently doing 8,000 transactions a week. This is not 8,000 users - each use, even if just to draw cash, will involve several transactions between the terminal and the bank's computer. None the less this is clearly popular. The argument is that this service atracts al lot of visitors to the shop for no other reason, visitors who would not come to the shop if there was no cash machine. There was discusion regarding an alternative location for a cash machine in Bollington. The reality is that there is nowhere that will satify all our requirements.
  • Delivery times - there are an astonishing number of deliveries to the shop. Five or six days a week there will be two different bread suppliers, a Co-op fresh goods delivery, and a Co-op dry goods delivery. There are also a few additional deliveries during the week. Deliveries are restricted to 9.30am - 3.00pm and 4.30pm - 10.00pm. These times are designed to avoid peak hours particularly school coming and going. There are continuing problems regarding where the truck should park, where they turn, what happens when two arrive at the same time.
  • Garish Landscape of the shop - the shop is extremely bright at night and shines its lights across Wellington Road and into the house opposite. It was likened to living on Blackpool prom! This is undoubtedly unpleasant for the householders. The Co-op say they will add some features to the front wall to break up this glaring light.
  • Anti-Social Behaviour - Lindsey Whitehead, PCSO, reported that on several visits she had not found any problems. Householders, who are continuing to complain about this problem, were asked to call the police on 0845 458 0000 to get a more immediate response.
  • Request for 20mph advisory speed limit - there is no CEC policy to implement 20mph zones. There are legal reason why a limit cannot be applied to Wellington Road.
  • Parking proposals - David Naylor, Town Clerk, gave a very well illustrated presentation on the options for changing the yellow lines and parking positions around the shop. They all had their own serious problems and it was agreed that none were worth further consideration. One additional No Loading sign is to be requested.
  • One item that so often causes confusion is responsibilities for parking control and obstruction. Parking Wardens are responsible for yellow line offences. They visit Bollington for half a day each week. since October (3 months) they have patrolled at 16 locations including the Co-op area, issued 23 penalty notices only two of which were at the Co-op. It was noted that this was an inadequate response. The police are responsible for obstruction incidents. Obstruction is not a fixed penalty offence and has to be taken to the Magistrates court. A case can only succeed if a specific person is actually obstructed and that person will have to provide evidence. It's not easy.

It was agreed that there should be a further meeting in a few weeks time. It will be announced on this page once arranged.


The history

There has been a Co-operative store on the corner of Wellington Road and Albert Road since at least 1900, in fact it is probably the only shop in Bollington that has survived over 100 years in the same ownership and is still open! It has a long history.

The original store was a beautiful late 19th century building with a canopy around the street sides, like those in Buxton. Alas this building was torn down in the 1960s to provide a 'modern' self-service store. In 2007 the company decided to expand the store and remodel it in the modern style. This extension has been built in the summer of 2010.

The problem

Ever since the new store opened it has been mayhem. Vehicles are the problem, cars from the customers and trucks delivering for the Co-op added to the chaotic traffic problems that already exist in that area. Albert Road has long been a serious traffic problem and the worst part of it is the junction with Wellington Road, in front of the Co-op and the entry to Riverside Close. Trucks find it difficult to turn into and out of Albert Road. They are often obstructed by vehicles parked, often illegally, around the Co-op. There is a limited number of parking spaces (7) on one side of the shop and this is a reduction of three from those available prior to the expansion of the shop. The site is surrounded by double yellow no parking lines.

The Revolt

The local residents have set up a campaign group and Bollington Town Council supported them in organising a public meeting with a wide range of local councillors and Cheshire East officers present. These included four CEC councillors, two Police officers, the CEC Highways manager. This was held on the evening of 20th October 2010 in the Civic Hall and about 60 residents attended. The meeting was chaired by Cllr Roland Domleo, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council. The other three councillors were Cllr Harold Davenport, Cllr Matthew Davies, and Cllr Diana Thompson, all ward councillors for Bollington & Disley. (To contact any of these see the Councillors page.)

An introductory presentation by the residents highlighted their concerns ...

  • How did the shop extension get planning permission?
  • The serious problems, including serious safety concerns, being caused
  • What solutions are there to these problems?

The basic problem is that there are too many vehicles trying to park around the shop, especially at peak times when the schools in Albert Road are starting and finishing, and also when there are delivery trucks trying to park beside the shop to unload. These problems provide serious risk for pedestrians, particularly if they have to walk behind vehicles parked outside the shop. These vehicles most usually park nose in to the shop and then reverse out across the pavement and into Albert Road. This is seen as a serious risk for drivers and especially pedestrians. At school in and out times many young children have to walk past the shop.

Many difficulties are caused by large HGV trucks turning into or out of Albert Road. This is a difficult turn at the best of times because or the sharpness of angle and the lack of turning space for semi-trailers. The difficulty is increased for those accessing Albert Road because the pedestrian refuge in Wellington Road prevents the trucks from taking a wider sweep at the turn. This problem may be alleviated by the imminent removal of the refuge and its replacement by a pedestrian crossing. The difficulties for trucks are increased when a Co-op HGV is parked in the area, usually along the Albert Road side of the shop.

The problem of inappropriately parked cars extends along Wellington Road, Albert Road and Riverbank Close with many residents claiming that they had experienced difficulty getting into or out of their own drives.

The opening hours of the shop were questioned - should this now be regarded as a large shop and limited to six hours of opening on a Sunday? Subsequent to the meeting measurement of the building and review of the legal specification of a large shop seems to show that this is a small shop entitled to open for longer hours.

Residents also claim that deliveries are being made on Sundays despite that being prohibited by condition in the planning approval.

Concerns were expressed about the increase in litter in the area since the shop was extended. There was also an allegation that groups of youths were loitering in close proximity to the shop and drinking alcohol. Some customers had reported that they had been approached by youths with requests to buy alcoholic drink for them. The shop claim that they require those that look as though they are under 25 years of age to identify themselves and prove that they are over 18 before selling them alcohol.

There was discussion regarding the possibility of the grass strip on the right of Riverbank Close, owed by CEC, being used as a parking area for delivery trucks. Access and egress was thought to be very difficult for this location but it will be looked at.

Action

All the problems and ideas put forward in the presentation and subsequent discussion were noted and various parties will take action ...

  • CEC will arrange for the parking warden to visit at least one day per week and issue tickets to those in breach of parking regulations.
  • CEC Highways will review the parking restrictions and hasten the installation of the planned pedestrian crossing over Wellington Road.
  • Co-op management will firmly establish the need to avoid sending delivery trucks during the schools in and out times.
  • BTC/CEC will take action to have the overhanging hedges in the area cut back to maximise footpath clearance.
  • Police/PCSO will pay more attention to youth drinking in the area.

Further measures will be considered by all parties and brought to another public meeting yet to be announced (subsequently held on 20 January 2011, see above).

Documents available

Minutes of the meeting

Attendance list