Neil Heavens: Update On The Proposed Morrisons Development in Eldene

An update from your Labour Councillors, Fay Howard, Neil Heavens and Derique Montaut, in Liden, Eldene and Park South on the development of the proposed new Morrisons Superstore development near the Eldene Centre.

The Current Situation.

The original planning application for the construction of a new Morrisons superstore, granted in 2012, was withdrawn following an application for a Judicial Review by the Co-operative. A renewed planning application was, however, brought by Morrisons to address some of the issues arising from the Judicial Review. It is anticipated that the Morrisons store may be open for Christmas.

Vehicular Access to the Proposed Site.

The Planning Department at Swindon Council has received a number of concerns about the proposed development, centring upon access to the site and possible congestion. The Morrisons development is to take place on the ground adjacent to the current gym, in an area delineated by Eldene Drive and Dorcan Way, adjacent to Stubsmead, and immediately to the north of the current Co-op supermarket at the Eldene Centre. A lay bay off Eldene Drive and a pedestrian crossing across Eldene Drive to Stubsmead will be built and work will be done on the roundabout. However, no other highway works are planned as the current infrastructure is considered adequate to handle the anticipated increased traffic.

Other Facilities.

The area around the proposed development will be landscaped. A shared pedestrian / cycle path will be constructed from Hindle Way to the Morrisons complex. Provision will also be made to ensure that construction of the Morrisons store does not give rise to drainage problems. The proposed Morrisons development has spaces for 263 cars, including designated disabled parking spaces, and bicycle racks.

The Eldene Centre.

Obviously, although the Morrisons development is not to take place on the actual site of the current Co-op store, it will have ramifications on the Eldene Centre itself. The retail stores already in place – the newsagent, the takeaway and the betting shop – may be transferred to the new development where three retail units have been earmarked. Obviously, there is no longer any place for a Co-op in the area. There is uncertainty as to whether the existing retail stores will successfully make the transition to the proposed Morrisons complex. Also, a question remains as to plans for the current Eldene Centre.

Disturbances for Residents.

There may be concern about possible disturbances for residents across Eldene Drive in Stubsmead from the coming and going of lorries, although it is understood that 24hour deliveries will not be allowed and lorries will be instructed to shut off their bleepers whilst unloading.