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New Heron Foods store plans delayed over pedestrian safety

Councillors have delayed deciding on plans for a Heron Foods store next to an existing Tesco to negotiate over safe delivery vehicle access.

Newark and Sherwood District Council deferred the plans, near the Tesco Express store in Kirklington Road Rainworth, so a delivery solution can be found.

It follows council officers confirming a proposed planning condition aimed at limiting delivery driver access to Heron Foods may not be enforceable by the council.

It’s after the authority revealed no restrictions were placed on the existing Tesco retailer when it was first given consent several years ago.

If eventually approved, Heron Foods plans to build a unit on redundant brownfield land next to the existing store and to share the car park with Tesco.

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The Tesco store in Rainworth where the Heron Foods shop could be built

The existing car park includes 16 parking bays for Tesco while Heron proposed 15 more bays, taking the total to 31.

The proposed store, if approved, would open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 8am to 4pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

The Tesco store is open from 6am to 11pm, seven days a week.

However, the planning committee meeting on Thursday (August 10) heard of potential public safety issues caused by proposed access and exit points.

The Tesco store in Rainworth where the Heron Foods shop could be built 1 1

And councillors asked for the proposals to be delayed so the issues over delivery access can be addressed between the authority and the applicant.

It followed objections raised by both Cllr Claire Penny (Lab), the local ward member, and Rainworth Parish Council.

In an official objection, Cllr Penny raised concerns about pedestrian safety in the car park and the addition of another retail store in the village.

She also raised fears about the planned repurposing of an old access point to the former Robin Hood Pub car park into new access from Kirklington Road.

And concerns were raised about delivery drivers accessing the car park already, with an “additional retail unit [exacerbating] this issue”.

These concerns were supported by the committee on Thursday when opting to defer their decision.

Council officers said a planning condition for the application could restrict delivery drivers from accessing Heron Foods to between 6-8am and 8-11pm.

This is out of operating hours “in the interest of residential amenity”.

Cllr David Moore (Ind), the committee’s vice-chairman, asked for this to be amended to ensure delivery drivers leave by 7.45am and arrive after 8.30pm.

He said this would protect the safety and amenity of people in the area.

But Lisa Hughes, a council planning officer, said: “[On the Tesco planning application] no conditions were imposed on delivery vehicles.

“So we’re of the opinion we can’t say this condition is enforceable because we’d have to know if a vehicle is for Tesco or Heron in order for the enforcement team to enforce.”

Her comments led to the committee deferring its decision on the plans – which were recommended for approval – so further information can be found regarding delivery access.

Cllr Andy Freeman (Lab), the committee’s chairman, said: “That condition is fairly essential. If we can’t enforce it, it’s worthless.

“I’m unhappy with that and, taking on board the comments, I think it wouldn’t be unreasonable at all to ask for further negotiations.

“I would be unhappy with the safety of people without a condition like this.”

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