Tag Archives: primark

Primark Decision Notice: Not holding my breath

This afternoon I received a copy of the decision notice sent by the Council to Primark. The full backstory can be caught up in these previous posts. One minor victory – the cycle parking condition was amended to require that the parking is actually accessible and free from obstruction!

The cycle parking hereby approved shall remain accessible and free from obstruction, and retained for use at all times

In their letter to Primark officers have added as strong a wording — in bold, no less — that they now can, for which I am grateful:

Please be advised that it is necessary to ensure that Primark Stores comply in full with the conditions above. I would particularly like to draw your attention to conditions 3, 4 and 5 which relate to delivery operations and delivery times. Please be advised that it is your responsibility to ensure that all these conditions are complied with at all times. Please ensure that you instruct all delivery drivers/refuse collectors etc. of the terms of these conditions and ensure that they are complied with in full and at all times.


You should be aware that if the requirements of the planning conditions are breached then the Council will have no other option than to pursue formal enforcement action for failure to comply with the terms of the planning approval. This is likely to take the form of a Breach of Conditions Notice (to which there is no right of appeal except in the High Court. The maximum fine upon conviction is £1000 for each and every subsequent offence.)


Finally I would like to state that it is not the intention of any party to be punitive or unnecessarily strict in this matter. It is in the best interests of all parties that the problems experienced on this site are resolved in an efficient and professional manner. In this regards I would like to encourage Primark Stores to liaise closely with the residents in close proximity to the store to ensure that potential and future problems can be avoided. I would also strongly encourage you to ensure that your staff are aware of the importance of compliance with the planning conditions and their responsibility to keep noise and disturbance to an absolute minimum, especially in the rear service yard.

They also did include the informative that some Councillors had requested but I wasn’t sure was passed by the full committee:

Additional Informative:

The applicant is advised that the Planning Committee is of the view that effective engagement and communication should take place with the local community regarding the operation of the store.

I hope that this serves it purpose and that Primark will now engage with their neighbours and reign in their deliveries. However today I heard that Marlborough Street was used for refuse collection, in contravention of their conditions, so I’m not holding my breath!

I’ve copied the full letter below, less the Planning officer’s name.

The Store Manager
Primark Stores Ltd
169-174 Western Road
Brighton
BN1 2BL

Dear Sir / Madam,

Re: Planning application BH2008/01052


As you should be aware planning application BH2008/01052 (Retrospective application for part second/third floor extension to incorporate storage space and staff facilities (amendment to Delivery and Servicing Statement to show a minimum of 6 deliveries per day and none on Sundays and Public Holidays) was approved by the Planning Committee of the Council on 25th November 2009.

The application was approved subject to 8 conditions. These conditions are:

1. All air handling units and plant located on the roof of the premises shall not operate between the hours of 23.00 and 07.00.

Reason: To safeguard the amenities of neighbouring residential occupiers and to comply with policies SU10 and QD27 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan.

2. Noise associated with plant and machinery incorporated within the development shall be controlled such that the rating level, measured or calculated at 1 metre from the façade of the nearest noise sensitive premises shall not exceed a level of 5dB below the existing LA90 background noise level.  Rating level and existing background noise levels to be determined as per the guidance provided in BS 4142: 1997.

Reason: To safeguard the amenities of neighbouring occupiers and to comply with policies SU10 and QD27 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan.

3. No vehicle movements nor any loading or unloading of vehicles shall take place between the hours of 20.00 to 08.00.

Reason: To safeguard the amenities of neighbouring occupiers and to comply with policies SU10 and QD27 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan.

4. No deliveries, including the collection of refuse and recyclable materials, shall be taken at or dispatched from the site except from either the service yard to the rear of the application site accessed from Crown Street only or the front of the site along the designated section of footway in Western Road.

Reason: To safeguard traffic flows along Crown Street and Marlborough Street and not to prejudice highway safety in accordance with policies TR1 and TR7 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan.

5. No deliveries or unloading of vehicles shall take place on Sundays or Bank or other Public Holidays except using the designated section of footway in Western Road.

Reason: To safeguard the amenities of neighbouring occupiers and to comply with policies SU10 and QD27 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan.

6. The refuse and recycling storage facilities hereby approved shall be retained for use at all times.

Reason: To ensure the retention of satisfactory facilities for the storage of refuse and recycling and to comply with policies SU2 and QD27 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan.

7. Access to the flat roof over the extension hereby approved shall be for maintenance or emergency purposes only and the flat roof shall not be used as a roof garden, terrace, patio or similar amenity area.

8. The cycle parking hereby approved shall remain accessible and free from obstruction, and retained for use at all times

Reason: To ensure that the facilities for the parking of cycles are retained and to encourage travel by means other than private motor vehicles and to comply with policy TR14 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan.

Additional Informative:

The applicant is advised that the Planning Committee is of the view that effective engagement and communication should take place with the local community regarding the operation of the store.

Please be advised that it is necessary to ensure that Primark Stores comply in full with the conditions above. I would particularly like to draw your attention to conditions 3, 4 and 5 which relate to delivery operations and delivery times. Please be advised that it is your responsibility to ensure that all these conditions are complied with at all times. Please ensure that you instruct all delivery drivers/refuse collectors etc. of the terms of these conditions and ensure that they are complied with in full and at all times.


You should be aware that if the requirements of the planning conditions are breached then the Council will have no other option than to pursue formal enforcement action for failure to comply with the terms of the planning approval. This is likely to take the form of a Breach of Conditions Notice (to which there is no right of appeal except in the High Court. The maximum fine upon conviction is £1000 for each and every subsequent offence.)


Finally I would like to state that it is not the intention of any party to be punitive or unnecessarily strict in this matter. It is in the best interests of all parties that the problems experienced on this site are resolved in an efficient and professional manner. In this regards I would like to encourage Primark Stores to liaise closely with the residents in close proximity to the store to ensure that potential and future problems can be avoided. I would also strongly encourage you to ensure that your staff are aware of the importance of compliance with the planning conditions and their responsibility to keep noise and disturbance to an absolute minimum, especially in the rear service yard.

I trust that the above is informative and if I can be of any further assistance or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours faithfully

[A.N. Officer]

The Primark Planning decision

Primark delivery jam in Crown Street
Primark delivery jam in Crown Street, with a buggy squeezing by.

The past few days have brought some bitter disappointments in the Council’s committee rooms.

On Thursday I attended the Planning Committee to support residents objecting to Primark’s application which would give them the right to virtually unlimited deliveries between 8am and 8pm. The current level of disturbance is too much for them, any growth would be wholly unacceptable. I have documented more on the problems previously.

I have been working on this application for nearly 2 years — it was submitted in March 2008 as, incredibly, the seventh application by Primark for this building. Over this period it was made very clear to me by council officers that some of Primark’s bad behaviour (e.g. vehicles coming in via Marlborough St) was un-enforceable until this new application went to the committee. This was because the existing conditions were unclear following a number of applications and a partial success (for Primark) at an appeal.

So I had been chasing and chasing the application, getting residents to write in to the planning officers and so on, in the hope we could soon get enforcement action. Sadly this all fell apart at the committee meeting. Firstly the officer presenting the application to the committee was not well briefed, for example claiming Primark deliver through Western Road when in fact they don’t. Officers appeared to be surprised to hear that Primark were servicing via Marlborough Street when they shouldn’t have been (enforcement officers have been told this for years); they were also surprised to be told that Primark’s yard had never been used for deliveries by previous tenants Littlewood and C&A. And so on…

Fortunately the photos I circulated to all members raised questions about how well the current setup was working for traffic flows. Additionally the pictures of clearly unusable cycle parking drew comments of enforcement action being needed from another officer. But after nearly TWO YEARS of being told this by residents and councillors why were officers showing surprise on the day? I can tell you, the galleries gasped and tutted.

To add to the dismay officers also told us that the report (can I mention again, nearly two years in gestation) had incorrect conditions and so amended them verbally to allow Sunday and Public holiday deliveries – admittedly via Western Road only – but still not something the published conditions would have allowed at all. Furthermore officers emphasised that this application was only about Primark’s failure to discharge conditions about (inaccessible) cycle parking, putting up security gates without prior agreement and sustainability issues.

Chris Naylor-Smith spoke very well on behalf of the residents. A spokeswoman from Primark’s agents offered a canned speech which didn’t reflect reality, then as Committee member Cllr Amy Kennedy has commented, was unable to answer any questions whatsoever. I then spoke but was probably showed how furious I was about the way the application was unfolding, completely contrary to how residents and I had been told it would by officers.

To their credit, committee members generally showed concern about the failings of the current delivery arrangements, the problems it caused Crown St and Marlborough St residents and Primark’s clear failure to act responsibly to its neighbours… let alone engage with them.

Green Cllr Amy Kennedy offered some excellent conditions, requiring all deliveries via Western Road and rubberising the yard and cages to reduce noise. Labour Cllr Juliet McCaffery offered to second the rubberising conditions. However officers made it very clear that these were not acceptable as they did not relate to the matters of cycle parking, security gates and sustainability conditions. This advice put an end to the kinds of conditions residents had been hoping for.

Sadly, other than the Green committee members who chose to vote down the application and one Tory abstention the remainder of the Committee (Conservatives and Labour) all followed officer advice and voted through the application. It’s not entirely clear to me if a condition requiring the cycle parking to be accessible and a formal notification to Primark requesting that they engage with their neighbours will be included in the formal decision notice. We shall see.

It was an extremely disappointing event, not just because I couldn’t get the result residents were hoping for, but because the terms of the whole application shifted so dramatically from what we had been previously led to believe. This isn’t over though, I’ll be following this up with the Council and Primark as will residents, I’m sure.

My letter to the Planning Comittee

Photo dossier

Webcast of the Committee meeting (From memory, Primark came about 2.5 hours into the meeting)

UPDATED: Having reviewed the webcast I realised I had wrongly attributed the abstention to Labour, in fact it was Cllr Mrs Theobald, Conservative.

Brighton Primark Protest

This morning I had an early start to get out to Crown Street in Regency ward. I was joining residents who live around the large Brighton Primark on Western Road. For nearly two years their life has been blighted by deliveries through their small residential cul-de-sacs. Whilst most other businesses on Western Road take deliveries through loading bays at the front of their stores, Primark insist on using these side roads causing noise, vibrations and congestion.

Primark’s management have refused to enter into dialogue with residents or councillors. We’d had enough so decided to blockade their 8am Saturday morning product delivery. We hope to raise the profile of these issues ahead of a planning application from Primark being decided by the council’s planning committee this Wednesday 25th November, which includes delivery issues. We’re asking for a condition forcing Primark to take deliveries from the front like everyone else. Please lobby your councillors using WriteToThem.

See how our protest went:

A short report from BBC South East:

Update:
Some pictures of the protest by local resident Jane Dallaway are now on Flickr.