Main Objection 1 of 5 : Traffic Congestion
Traffic in the Corstorphine area remains a concern for both national and local politicians, as well as residents. The number of vehicles using St John’s Road and the one-way Manse Road is already pushing the local transport network beyond its limit as recent council traffic surveys have demonstrated.
This supermarket and carpark will bring significant numbers of cars from all over Edinburgh. The Transport Assessment predicts 50% of weekday car journeys will be ‘new’ rather than ‘passing’, and on Saturday peak hour it will be 70% (and they do not include any potential from proposed housing developments). The extra cars, and having to negotiate entrance and exit to the car park, rather than just ‘passing’ will cause extra congestion.
In order to allow cars to enter the car park, it is proposed the section at the top of Manse Road be made 2-way. The longer light sequence to allow additional phases will potentially cause more traffic to back up down Manse Road and onto the High Street, as well as causing worsening tail-backs on St John’s Road. The proposed left turn from St John’s Road into Manse Road will also require a section of bus lane to be removed, causing further delay to buses.
In addition to customers, there will be articulated-lorries and home-delivery vans negotiating Corstorphine’s busy and narrow streets.
The Council’s Local Transport Strategy states ‘“Through the Planning process, the Council is in a position to ensure that measures are built into new development with the aim ofminimising the number of car trips generated.”
Creating a 140-space car park is not in-keeping with this policy. The car park capacity applied for also exceeds the 91-space limit for a development of this size set out by the Council’s Parking Standards.
Main Objection 2 of 5 : Air Pollution
Air Quality is continuously monitored on St John’s Road as it is a designated AQMA (Air Quality Management Area). Last year St John’s Road was revealed as the 2nd most polluted highway in Scotland, and this year results seem to be worsening.
Levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide were 50 per cent above the EU legal limit. The building of a large car park and supermarket will encourage more cars into the area. This and the increased congestion will further pollute the air we breathe, something akin to passive smoking.
A study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) last year of a 12-year study, following 100,000 concluded there are significant links between exposure to traffic pollutants and ill health.
The removal of the section of bus lane, which is proposed to allow a left turn lane from St John’s Road into the car park, will mean buses are held up with the rest of the traffic, causing further pollution at street level.
The additional 2 storeys and larger footprint of the proposed building may create a canyon effect at the Manse Rd/St John’s Road junction which means pollution is less likely to disperse.
Edinburgh Council have a legal obligation to reduce these levels of toxins and approving this proposal is a step in the wrong direction.
Main Objection 3 of 5 : Effect on our Environment
‘Interventions need to be compatible with the historic context, not overwhelming or imposing’. From Edinburgh City Council, Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas (2014):Part 2, Conservation Areas: General Principles
The three-storey supermarket and car park within the Corstorphine Conservation Area would look out of place. It’s not a sensitive or exciting, modern design. It’s a monolithic supermarket and car park which dwarfs the neighbouring buildings. It will reduce sunlight within the street and block the view of trees from the North.
Town Centre Policy also states that retail development must be ‘compatible in terms of scale and size’.
The proposal will also involve the felling of a much-loved old oak and other mature trees. The oak tree has been classed as a Grade A tree, which means it has great landscape and historical importance, and has at least another 40 years estimated life.
The removal of these trees means also the removal of the benefits they bring; it has implications for air quality, biodiversity and our psychological and physical well-being.
‘Trees in the City’ also states ‘Older and larger trees in the City are currently under-valued and should not be removed unless there are compelling reasons to do so.’
Realis say they will need to fell 4 trees and will replace them with 7 new trees; however, these new trees will have their growth and life expectancy limited by planters. A mature tree would need to be replaced by 40 new trees to offer the same air-cleaning benefits, demonstrating the value of these older trees. (Source: Edinburgh Council, Trees in the City, Jan ’14).
Corstorphine’s conservation area status should offer some protection against negative impacts of development proposals.
Main Objection 4 of 5 : Effect on Corstorphine Town Centre.
Far from regenerating Corstorphine town centre, the arrival of yet another supermarket and café in the area threatens the existing shops and cafés.
The Retail Statement does not provide a compelling argument for the economic benefit of this proposal. It focuses on the impact on Tesco. The Economic Development Report estimates this development will only create 0-18 jobs, so this cannot be cited as a reason to support the proposal.
This is not a Waitrose, it is a speculative build. Seven substantial shop units are being demolished to make way for one big supermarket for an unknown client.
An alternative proposal might be for new shop units with residential above.
As there are alternative proposals which would be less damaging to the retail environment and could actually prove beneficial to Corstorphine, we feel it is unacceptable for this application to be passed.
Main Objection 5 of 5: Pedestrian Hazards.
Manse Road is already a challenge for many pedestrians, particularly older residents and the children and parents making the journey to and from Corstorphine Primary School and Nursery.
The increased traffic on Manse Road, the busy two-way ramped entrance to the multi-storey car park and loading-area and the drastic reduction in pavement width are unacceptably hazardous.
At busy times and for those who need mobility aids, a narrow pavement makes a journey much more difficult. It also means people are walking closer to the traffic, which means a greater exposure to fumes.
The existing entrance to the small 15-space car park has clearly marked kerbs and is 4.5m wide. The proposed entrance to the 140-space car park and loading area is 15m wide and will be used regularly by lorries and cars. There are no kerbs at the edge of the road, instead confusing ‘courtesy crossings’ where the ramp exits directly onto the pavement.
These ‘courtesy crossings’ are inadequate as there is no evidence that drivers respect the pedestrian right-of-way. This creates a potentially very dangerous crossing point on a walk-to-school route.