The proposal to have an Asda on the entrance to Kingsway took another step forward last weekend when there was a consultation held to inform the public and to take on concerns. I attended on the Friday and I was very pleased to see that the initial concerns I had raised were being tackled front and centre and not just sidelined. I had a number of concerns to take along, some were my own, but others were what had been raised to me by residents using the Kingsway Blog and a number of phone calls and emails. While not everything was exactly as I’d like, I think the whole presentation was very positive and a really strong base to work from.
The major issues for me were around 3 main areas, these being Access (Road and pedestrian), Aesthetics and being a Quality Neighbour. However there were a lot more issues discussed as well.
The issues around access are twofold, firstly the A38/Kingsway is a very busy junction and already we have had a number of accidents and near misses, with careless drivers jumping the lights etc. So one of my major concerns is just how much will having Asda there will increase traffic flow, and will people (pedestrians) be more at risk? Coupled with that, if people are turning from the A38 to get into Asda, will that hamper people leaving the estate from Woodvale? What I was pleased to see was they had spent a lot of time modelling the junction and predicted traffic flows. What was an important point was that this should generate no new traffic as such, those cars going to the supermarket are already travelling somewhere. I did raise the fact I had no wish for it to look like the Asda in Gloucester, with traffic queuing up the dual carriageway, and the modelling did highlight that this should not happen. We also discussed the future predictions of housing growth in Kingsway, as well as Hunts Grove. These need to be taken into account alongside the current demand from Quedgeley and Hardwicke. My fears of traffic throughput have been allayed somewhat, but will be keeping an eye on it.
The second access issue is around pedestrians. Kingsway has been developed as very pedestrian and cycle friendly and I would wish to see any future development continue in this vein. To this end, they are ensuring that there are enough pedestrian access points and that the Store is easily accessed. I have a niggle that more could be done to ensure pedestrian access as it crosses Woodvale but again they are putting in the widest crossing they can, so short of making it a “shared space” (which would be in keeping with other parts of Kingsway) then they have done all they can. They are also putting in a lot of bike racks, both for staff and residents which is good. Working with the Highways and public transport people in the council, they aim to provide bus shelters which is a good thing too.
The Aesthetics issues are largely based around how the physical building will sit in the local area. It will be the first thing that people see of Kingsway coming in from the A38 and therefore it needs to be sympathetic and not be glaringly encroaching onto the residents homes. To this end, they are doing a lot of landscaping and ensuring that while they have their branding, it is not over the top. They are mindful of the need to ensure their lighting schemes do not encroach on the houses opposite.
The idea of being a Quality Neighbour is my concern that any business that comes to Kingsway is a good neighbour in the estate. At a minimum I would hope that any business looks after its own areas and frontage etc, but the more they can become involved in the local community then, in my mind, they become a much better neighbour. The Asda representative was keen to highlight all the community things they do (and backed it up with evidence). In terms of jobs they have assured me that the 230 jobs are all on site jobs (not construction) and they recruit as locally as possible. In terms of full and part-time job ratio, while it will depend on who they employ, it should roughly work out at 2:1 (2 part-time for every 1 full-time). That means roughly 77 full-time jobs and 153 part-time. That could be a welcome boost to those local residents who want the part-time flexibility to fit with family life. In terms of being good for the community they were making all the right noises which was very encouraging, though as with anything, the proof will be in the actions, not the words.
Other issues are things like Trollies. They are fully aware of the need not to have trollies littering the estate and they have assured me that the trollies will either be coin operated or a stopping mechanism in place. The deliveries will be done in such a way as to ensure noise is kept to a minimum, including a sound proof wall and making drivers switch off the units when stationary. There was also talk of a Petrol Station, however this site is deemed to probably be a bit too small, however there was a thought about having one, but siting it on another part of the Kingsway Business Park, so it could be a possibility.
Overall a very encouraging consultation. Its key to remember that this piece of land has never going to stay green, it was originally destined to have a huge office block on it, so having something that is going to be useful to residents can be seen as a more positive improvement.
- Kingsway/ Quedgeley ASDA consultation – What do YOU think? (barrykirby.co.uk)