Initial approval has been given for the development of a large food retail outlet on the Hartwell Site. The plan involves building a two-storey retail outlet with the main pedestrian access being from the Carlisle Street–Spital Hill junction.
The Spital Hill Report
The Spital Hill Project Group, chaired by Cllr Drayton, was convened to consider the recommendations made for the location of a supermarket on Spital Hill. The report, commissioned by the Council in September, suggested Spital Hill could take a food retail capacity of approximately 4,000m2, comparable in size to the Hillsborough Morissons. The report considered the Ashram, the East House, Ellesmere Old People’s Home and Hartwells as possible sites.
The report recommends the Council support the development of a larger food retail outlet on the Hartwell site. This should be on two levels with parking at the Savile Street level and the main pedestrian access to the upper retail level being from the Carlisle Street–Spital Hill junction. This development is compared to the Archer Road Sainsbury’s. A further condition to the planning application would be a contribution from the developer to improve Spital Hill.
Consensus & concern
There was overall support for this plan. This reflected relief at the ending of insecurity about demolition around Spital Hill. Some voices felt that the increased footfall from a larger retail outlet with an entrance on Carlisle Street would be good for local business. Concern was expressed about the provision of parking for access to the new shop. Other voices expressed discomfort with this plan stating that it was only through demolition and rebuilding with new, purpose-built business outlets that the commercial life of Spital Hill could be revived.
The overall mood of the meeting was positive, a consensus was reached and a vote duly recommended the plan. The November meeting of the Area Panel endorsed the decision of the Project Group which will now go before the Council Cabinet on 25th January. The earliest possible date for the completion of the development would be mid-2008 with 2012 as the latest date at which work would start.
The Council have agreed to contact the business community in and around Spital Hill to confirm that no demolition is proposed for the East House or the Ashram sites. The part demolition of lower Spital Hill down from the Kashmir will still go ahead.
If, for whatever reason, the larger food store was not to be pursued, then the original planning permission for the Hartwell site would still be active, which is for six retail units and a food and drink unit. This option must have pedestrian access from Spital Hill although the actual shopping level would be at the Saville Street level. This option would not bring so many benefits to Spital Hill.
by Tim Neal