Today Norcros Estates and Morrisons have displayed plans for their comprehensive redevelopment of the form Johnsons Tiles Highgate Works Factory, which was vacated at the turn of the century moving down the valley to it’s new high tech head quarters.
The proposals outlined today are a major investment in the town, and will redevelop a brown fields piece of land that has stood empty and barren bar the odd fun fair for far to long.
The plans include a new supermarket, petrol station plans for a restaurant and retail outlets.
Alterations to Brownhills road will add a roundabout to the enterance of the site and according to proposed plans a roundabout at the end of the high street making access from high street more accessible.
The plans proposed that all deliveries will be via Connaught Street, which then leads onto Harewood street, next to St Mary’s Primary School. Some objections being raised at the consultation were about this point. Worries raised about the increased heavy load traffic passing the school were raised.
It was also confirmed that the connection to the Tunstall bypass wasn’t part of these plans. The bypass would have offered heavy goods vehicles easier access to the bottom part of town, benefiting local industry centred around the town with access to the A500.
The Morrisons store, the heart of the new development will feature a 38,000 sq ft selling area devoted mostly to food retail, including Fresh Market, Family Butcher, Fishmonger, Delicatessen and Bakery. What Morrisons won’t be focusing on as other stores do, will be the white good, clothing and sundry items. Morrisons Tunstall aims to provide over 75% floor space to food.
If planning is approved by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, a self contained shopping environment including supermarket store and up to eight additional retailers this new area is hoped to generate up to 500 new full and part time jobs.
The construction is hoped to provide up to 180 jobs, and is hoping to pull heavily from the local workforce. It is hoped that staff in the supermarket will be made up of over 70% of locals, and Morrisons has already stated to staff who live in the area and working at their Festival store that they are happy to offer transfers to the new store closer to their.
Morrisons has also made commitments to recruit not just from the local community but also hope to help the long term unemployed to gain employment.
As part of the build, Morrisons will be making sure the new building has green credentials and as a company says since 2005 has saved over 240,000 tonnes of CO2 and will be benchmarked under the BREEAM (BRE Environment Assessment Method.
Sustainable features being considered are:
- ventilation heat recovery
- zero HFC refrigeration system
- integrated ground/air source heating system (Geo Thermal heating)
- heat harvesting from refrigeration
- zoned under floor heating
- sales are daylight
- thermal wall
- draft lobbies
- improved insulation
- roof mounted photovoltaic
- C02 air change control
- uilding monitoring system with energy sub-meters
- lighting control system incorporating daylight sensing, dimming and movement detectors
- high efficiency transformer/voltage reduction
- LED light in freezer store.
After watching petrol prices in Stoke-on-Trent for the past three years, one company seemed to always be at the forefront of lower petrol prices, and that company has been Morrison's.
Morrisons will no doubt become the cheapest supplier in the north of Stoke-on-Trent, in an area where petrol prices are inflated. Car owners have to travel round trip journeys of up to 4 miles to get to the cheaper fueling stations.
WHAT ABOUT TUNSTALL TRADERS
Bill McDonald chairman of the Tunstall Chamber of Trade belives/hopes the impact on the existing shops in Tunstall will be low, and if anything because the complex is on the far outskirts of town could even have a positive effect on the lower and hopefully higher end of town.
I posed the question to the developers about parking, and their response to parking fees was to play it by ear. If the car park is abused then parking charges would be imposed, afterall the aim is to shop at the retail centre. But if much needed spaces can be found for the town which gives the people the freedom to enter town, then I’m sure these spaces will be welcomed.
Shops that will be effected will be certain parts of Tunstall Market, ASDA, ALDI and LIDL.
Jobs and investment are paramount for our town, however will those jobs just be transferred from failing businesses, or could this development could be a new dawn for the town.
What do you think? As always I'd love to hear your thoughts.
I've scanned in the consultation document and attached the imaegs, just click them for bigger versions.
UPDATE - Click here to view the orginal none scanned in document