Minutes of STAR EGM: Wednesday 18th July 2012
SANDBACH TRADERS AND RETAILERS
MINUTES OF STAR Extraordinary Meeting
Wednesday 18th July 2012. 6.30 p.m.
SECE Partnership Building, Wesley Ave, Sandbach
|Larry Sharps||Vice Chairman|
|Amanda Wagg||Town Centre Manager|
|Brenda Naylor||Millgate House Educational Publishing|
|Carolyn Lowe||Town Councillor, Sandbach TC|
|Christa Atwood||Expose to Connections|
|Dave Skeels||Communicall UK|
|Dev Raj||Price City|
|Gill Merry||Councillor - CEC/STC|
|Jim Mason||Lower Chequer Public House|
|Reg Shallcross||Demeter Wholefoods|
|Shaun Lomas||BEST in Computers|
|Simon Raj||Price City|
|Kay Howden||The Cheese stall|
|Monica Furlong||Town Councillor, Sandbach TC|
|Barry Moran||Councillor, CEC|
|Elizabeth Hickson||Essence Hair & Beauty|
|Kim Durose||Twinkle, Twinkle|
|Mario Lanza||Sandbach Carpet Centre|
|Kerry Head||Lollipop Stop|
The scheduled meeting was delayed at 17.30hrs due to the need to relocate from The Board Room to The Conference Room upstairs in order to accommodate the larger than expected turnout.
"The Chairman in opening the meeting at 17.42hrs stated that the Extraordinary Meeting had been called by The STAR Committee after the recent publicity and concern about the proposed Retail Park Development in Sandbach by Muller Development.
She introduced herself and her role to those present, and asked that all Members, in turn, took the benefit of introducing themselves and their business as well as expressing their viewpoint re the above proposed development. As time was limited, due to room availability, she asked that it was kept to approximately 3 minutes in length."
Before commencement of the introductions, the Chairman congratulated Jim Mason, Lower Chequer Public House, on his recent Award for CAMRA Pub of the Year for Cheshire East and led a round of applause. They now go through to the National Awards. Congratulations to Jim, for achieving a Lifelong Dream in 2 years, and also his staff.
BRIEF INSIGHT INTO PLANNING:-
Gill Merry, Town Councillor, gave the collective group a flavour of Town Planning. National Policy Framework ensuring viability and vitality. That diversity should be promoted as well as retaining and enhancing existing markets, and also cultural needs. This was very well received and the delivery by GM very concise and interesting.
It was actioned and accepted at the next meeting on Wednesday 25 July 2012 that both GM and Barry Moran will give the group further indepth information on both Cheshire East Council (CEC) and the National Building and Planning Procedure.
GM was against the proposal. She emphasised that there will be housing. Petitions will only count as 1 objection no matter how many names are on it. Better to object singly as each one will be counted. GM suggested that Steve Irvine, Development, CEC, come and talk to the group. She highlighted Grand Junction Retail Park on the outskirts of Crewe and the effect it had had on the town centre as well as the time to get in and out - minimum 40 minutes on a Saturday afternoon.
Christa Atwood - Expose to Connections - new Member - stated that she had moved to Sandbach for it's uniqueness and has opened 2 Companies here. It would impact on her personally, ie residence, traffic, wildlife and leading to less green areas.
Brenda Naylor – Education Publishing – new Member - felt that it was really an unknown and emphasised that J17 needing sorting out first but was very concerned.
Kay Howden – The Cheese Stall – agreed with GM and JM in that we would see the same shops as they have in Crewe and was against the proposal.
Shaun Lomas – BEST in Computers – was for the proposal especially the bus link with the free shuttle bus service. Felt that Sandbach was being left behind and needed new retail.
Simon and Dev Raj – Price City – were against the proposal as they felt it does not bring anything new to the town. They do not live in the area but felt that it would spoil it. They have, over the 11 years they have been located here, diversified over the years and, got to know both their customers and requirements.
Hazel Warr - La Casa Vecchia - was again the proposal although she did not feel it would affect her business as more houses generally meant more customers. She stated that this was a devastating development with no creativity or inspiration. People will not walk up into town in general and also that the roads cannot cope now, and would not be able to support the envisaged extra load. The aim is to keep people in Sandbach. What about the copse of trees? Investment is required by Sandbach Town Council, especially The Market taking it into a new direction - what about starter units?
Jim Mason – Lower Cheque Public House – was against the proposal and felt that it was a “town next to a town”. The Hotel ie Premier Inn, would not bring visitors to stay or enhance the town as the main users would be businessmen ploughing the M6 – using it as somewhere to doss. The total number of pubs that had closed recently in the town was 3.
Carolyn Lowe – Town Councillor – no opinion or input as yet – was taking notes for Sandbach Town Council.
Amanda Wagg – newly appointed 3 weeks ago, Town Centre Manager – Sandbach Town Council – said there were pros and cons. She was not surprised by the wealth of feeling as she had worked with this sort of thing before. She had spoken to both Ben Pilgrim, Pilgrim PR, and Carl Davey, Development Director, Muller Development. She suggested that they were keen to come and give STAR Members a presentation and this was agreed. Anyone is welcome to come to the Town Clerk's Office and peruse the lengthy 400 page report by Muller Development.
Reg Shallcross – Demeter Healthfoods – was for the proposal as he felt that the town had been dying since 1945, that the opening of M6 had caused chaos and that promises had not been kept. There are nice shops as well as empty ones in the town and the right infrastructure was needed.
Nick Peever – Peever Clotheswear – was against the proposal – stating that he did not think it would add anything to the town especially another Garden Centre which could house various outlets under one roof as well as a restaurant/coffee shop.
Dave Skeels - Communicall UK – asked at Muller’s Presentation to see their proposed plans which they did reluctantly – the area by Waitrose will remain a green area as will the green corridor – by the stream – in Phase 2. Phase 2 will also include a country park. His concern was that this development was going to happen and one of the ways forward to tackle it would be by asking for caveats ie more buses, better pavements and roads etc. He also felt that Muller would "win points" by keeping the above green areas.
Larry Sharps – Vice Chairman, STAR – was against the proposal and would like to see promotion of promoted of light industry that would bring further houses and shops.
Elaine Kelly – Chairman, STAR – felt that personally it would not affect her business as people travel from all over the North West to the Dress Agency. Two Dress Agencies had recently closed – one in Holmes Chapel and the other on the outskirts of Nantwich. She was, however, against the proposal feeling that although not living in the area, there was a uniqueness, history and community spirit in Sandbach like nowhere else which ought to be saved. She also stated that the actual number of empty shops, having carried out research the week before, both in and on the outskirts of the town was 7. This was 3.97% against the National average of 14.50%. Her main fear was that now this was in the public domain, it was a lot further down the road than anticipated and it would come in some shape or form. Her major concern was that, if this went ahead and proved a success, it would be open invitation to larger National companies - the likes of Laura Ashley, T K Max, B&M etc - who locate themselves on retail parks thereby totally isolating the town and leading to permanent decline.
The Chairman stated that the views of the meeting - 2 members "For", 9 "Against and 1 "Unknown" - would be noted and STAR’s position agreed at the next ordinary meeting.
The meeting closed at 18.58hrs.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING:-
Wednesday 25 July 2012 at 6.30pm in The Waitrose Coffee Shop
22 July 2012