I could not resist last night and went to the information day at the Bishop centre organised by Land Securities.
My first objection is the traffic that this will create in this already difficult location. We all know the issues created on the A4 by the car boot sale on Sundays in the summer.
It seems that Land Securities have already obtained planning permission for a food store on the site. So unfortunately this one is going to be difficult to fight. I really cannot understand why South Bucks gave this permission as there is already a Sainsbury’s 200 meters away. Sainsbury’s apparently has already got planning permission to increase in size by going up one floor. I believe this will be the third extension that they have obtained since it opened a few years ago…
The planned Tesco is apparently only a small one so not similar to the Slough monstrosity but then how long will it be for them to apply for planning permission to increase in size once they are here? Surely if Land Securities have difficulties renting the proposed units in the new Bishop Centre, Tesco will apply to increase in size. Once they are here, we will not be able to consistently badger the planning committed in refusing extensions and will end up with another huge shop on our doorstep.
It also seems that Land Securities have got planning permission to use the old petrol station forecourt entrance next to the Traffic Police Station as the main entrance to the site. Surely there is not enough space there to have two lanes and a filter lane to make this happen without creating yet another bottle neck on the A4, unless of course the A4 is enlarged… Can you imagine the A4 everyday like a car boot Sunday? Enlarging the A4 from the Sainsbury’s roundabout to the new site entrance would be a mistake as the road will have to go back to a two way road at both the A4 railway bridge and Maidenhead Bridge.
A new service entrance will be created in Hitcham Road just before the railway bridge. For those who know the area, the railway bridge in Hitcham Road will not allow artic lorries through so the only way they will be able to come is from the A4, turning in Hitcham Road. The junction between Hitcham Way, Hag Hill Lane and the A4 is already a nightmare in the morning so I let you imagine the result of having artic lorries turning in there as well. Mind you I guess they could always deliver at night but for some reason I do not think that the residents in Hag Hill Rise with houses backing on Hitcham Road being too happy with this…
On the corner of Hitcham Road and Hag Hill Lane, there is a small kids play area. Incidentally, play area that South Bucks Council has left in disrepair for years. Would you let your kids play in this area in the middle of all this traffic? So this play area is now likely to disappear. Where will the kids play now? In the street? With the increased traffic? An accident waiting to happen.
The new service entrance in Hitcham Road will also service the new service road that will come out in Station Road just before the railway bridge. Again the bridge height will not allow lorries to go through so the only way out will be the A4. The lights on this junction are controlled by the police station to ensure that they can go out quickly in case of an emergency on the A4. This narrow road will not be able to sustain extra traffic.
As the A4 is going to be clogged up, there will be a short cut to get on the site from Hag Hill Lane, via Taplow village and Lent rise road. How is Lent Rise Road going to cope with further traffic? Institute Road is already a nightmare now that commuters use it to park during the day. It has become a one way road, which is now putting pressure on Boundary and Station Road. The number of car space planned on the site is not sufficient and therefore customers will seek to park in Hag Hill Lane and Hag Hill Rise. Hag Hill rise parking situation is already critical with people having to park half on pavement already.
This is my first appraisal of the scheme on the impact on traffic.
I plan to go there again today to have another look and chat about the impact to businesses.