SPENNYMOOR MASTERPLAN QUESTIONS ASKED AT THE AAP MEETING 16/3/17 – ANSWERS ARE IN CAPITAL LETTERS
- Is Festival Walk rejuvenation included in the MASTER Plan and are parts of it to be demolished, and which parts? Following an answer on this I would like opportunity to ask a supplementary question.
The Spatial Policy Officer from Durham County Council commented on the Master Plan that was being updated for all areas across the County. They had been presented to DCC Cabinet in December 2016 and January 2017 for approval. These updates were ongoing. Spennymoor’s Master Plan included regeneration of Festival Walk. Although in his power point presentation, Festival Walk was not discussed. Councillor N. Foster replied to my below questions.
I have assumed that by reporting the answers to my questions given tonight in open forum that all parties involved e.g. Festival Walk owners, retail and shop owners, Planning and Highways Departments, Council officers and Members are already aware of and up to speed with the ‘Plan for Spennymoor’.
THERE WILL BE A FORMAL ‘ANNOUNCEMENT’ SHORTLY. No timescale given.
PART OF FESTIVAL WALK WILL BE DEMOLISHED ONE SHOP DOWN FROM THE COVERED PATHWAY LEADING INTO FESTIVAL WALK FROM THE REAR CAR PARK. SHOPS AFFECTED WILL BE RELOCATED TO EXISTING VACANT SHOPS IN FESTIVAL WALK AT THE HIGH STREET END. THESE SHOPS AND INFRASTRUCTURE WILL BE UPGRADED BY THE OWNERS OF FESTIVAL WALK BUT THIS WILL ONLY TAKE PLACE ONCE THE NEW RETAIL UNIT IS UNDERWAY, WHEN DEMOLITION GOES AHEAD, AND NEW HIGHWAYS AND LIGHTING IMPROVEMENTS HAVE BEEN PUT IN PLACE i.e. all happen together.
As a supplementary question I asked if planning approval for the retail unit had been applied for and I was advised not yet. I also asked if improvement work on the retained shops and infrastructure on Festival Walk could take place before demolition and the building of the new retail unit, but advised that the Festival Walk owners wanted the retail unit in place before they made any improvements elsewhere.
Note: A Labour leaflet dated 2007 states “Continue current negotiations with the ‘owners’ of Festival Walk with a view to the revitalisation of the Town Centre”. 10 years on, let us hope that the current owners do not incur any delay.
2. Is the Kingfisher site to be developed and for what purpose.
RETAIL UNIT AND CAR PARK
3. Spennymoor has a lack of parking places. How many new parking places will be created and what steps will be taken to prevent ‘cars for sale’ occupying empty car park spots.
THERE ARE TO BE 30 EXTRA CAR PARKING SPACES. THERE WILL BE A 2 HOUR PARKING LIMIT ENFORCED TO AVOID ALL DAY PARKING AND ‘CARS FOR SALE’ ISSUES. DCC ARE TO INVEST IN HIGHWAY/LIGHTING IMPROVEMENTS.
I have asked the Spatial Policy officer if a roundabout is planned. Also to consider pedestrian crossing issues along Oxford Road and highway problems when articulated vehicles reverse into retail delivery bays to offload as reported to DCC officers at the Police & Communities Together Meeting and mentioned in my blog post dated 23/2/17.
IN RESPONSE TO REPOSITIONING THE EXISTING CROSSING ALONG OXFORD ROAD AND OPENING UP THE HIGH STREET; THESE COULD PRESENT CHALLENGES BUT WOULD BE LOOKED AT PRIOR TO ANY DECISION.
What is the current position with regard to planning permission for the North Eastern Hotel, as parts of it are dilapidated and an eye saw and subject to vandalism. The vacant property occupies a prime location at the top of the high street.
Nothing new indicated. Note: Following issues of anti social behaviour and vandalism identified at the Police and Communities Meeting and reported in my blog post dated 23/2/17 the owners have installed boundary fencing, secured the premises and installed a surveillance camera. The owner has advised our Group that he is currently waiting on DCC’s Planning Department.
Priorities in the Spennymoor Master Plan were advised as:
Support Spennymoor as a major employment centre (concern was expressed however, that we may lose out to the proposed Bowburn industrial development)
Delivery of successful housing expansion (2000+ quoted)
Work with the private sector to bring about an effective and sustainable solution for the future of Festival Walk
Cllr. Liz Maddison