Leegate – the new plans

Colin Darby of St Modwen sent these answers to our questions.  The green ink is theirs.

  1. Some people have had difficulty accessing the plans so please can you set out simply how they differ from the proposal that was agreed last time.

Foodstore reduced from 8731 sqm to1282 sqm

Centre carpark reduced from 320 to 40 spaces

Residential parking increased from 100 to 131 spaces

Increased size of public square from 2216 sqm to 4046 sqm

Provision of 562 sqm of office space

Provision of public toilets

Increase from 229 to 393 residential units

Three rather than two residential blocks with improved pedestrian permeability through the site


  1. Why has there been such a long delay in re-submitting plans? Local residents are desperate for your eyesore to be pulled down.

The contractual situation with Asda meant that we couldn’t progress with the new scheme until sorted.

Subsequently it has been necessary to ensure that some technical issues were clarified to ensure ‘buildability’ while fine-tuning detailed design


  1. The crucial element to the last (agreed) proposal was the anchor Asda store. Have you got an agreement with another supermarket chain for a smaller store and if so, can you tell us which it is?  And how will it compare in size with the Sainsbury’s opposite?

We are in discussions with potential tenants but cannot identify until agreement finalised. As above, the store will be smaller than Sainsbury’s, a neighbourhood ‘basket shop’ rather than a trolley/ car type of store


  1. There was much concern about the effect on the environment of increased traffic. Have you found ways to mitigate that in these plans?

There will be substantially less traffic than the consented scheme and hence substantially less impact on the environment- indeed potentially less than there could be from the existing centre!


  1. You’re proposing a central square which will please the groups who wanted public realm away from the road. How will you ensure it doesn’t attract criminal behaviour?

The new scheme will be managed by us/ managing agents and any successor in title and there will be centre management staff on site alongside CCTV etc.. Also the square is overlooked by commercial and residential occupiers and hence will to an extent be self- policed.


  1. Is the exterior going to be similar to the last proposal? You were very proud of the fact that you had Stirling award-winning architects.  Are you retaining them or have you watered down the design?

MacCreanor Lavington have been retained and have designed the revised scheme


  1. For example, have you retained the mews houses on Carston Close? And will you build where the garages are now?

We still have family homes fronting Carston Close. We didn’t propose to build on the site of the garages previously, nor are we now- shown as open/ landscaped space


  1. Are the blocks going to be the height you’d originally agreed?

Yes, the new proposals are within the envelope of the consented scheme


  1. There were concerns about loss of light through the walkways in your new plans, how have you addressed that?

The issue has been considered. The arcade is replaced by an open street and all routes have been tested to ensure sufficient sun and daylight 


  1. People were upset that you were pulling down mature trees. Is that still the case?

The trees in the square fronting Eltham Rd are still to be lost, although one of the trees further along Eltham Rd which was to have been lost is now to be retained. There is new planting along Burnt Ash Road and Leyland Rd and within the new square


  1. I understand you’re offering 21% affordable homes. What does that mean?  What’s “affordable”?  And how many will be social?

21% of new homes will be affordable (by habitable room), 16.3% by unit. Of these, 74% by hab room will be affordable rent (‘social’), 26% shared ownership (63%/37% by unit)


  1. You said you’d be demolishing all the existing buildings but building the new centre in phases. Won’t that prolong the disruption to local people?  Why not work on the whole development at once?

In practical terms, development on this scale has to be phased, albeit that it is likely to be in one contract. Having started it is in any developer’s interests to finish as soon as possible to enable return on investment!


  1. You had originally offered a large community centre, then said it would have to be smaller. What will we get?

The application proposes 321 sqm of space for community use


  1. You’ve increased substantially the numbers of homes but where will new residents go for doctors, schools etc?

CIL will be chargeable on the scheme and this is intended to be used for, inter alia, improved provision of social infrastructure as required for the new residents


  1. How much parking will you provide? Can we expect lots more cars jamming up our streets?

Parking provision for the residents will be made at a ratio of 1 space per 3 units


  1. What’s the timescale? Many of us wonder if it will ever happen!

If the Council’s Planning Committee resolve to approve in September we would hope to have the associated S106 Agreement completed by the end of the year, but we are then likely to need to pursue a CPO process alongside the Council, a process that could take a year. Hence any works on site are unlikely to start until 2020.

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