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Gloucestershire Business News

Co-op wants to move "problem" store less than 200m down the road in Cheltenham

A "problem" Co-op in Cheltenham will be relocated 150 metres down the road if plans get the nod.

Boo Homes has applied to transform the disused John Wilkins Cars showroom on the corner of Leckhampton Road and Piley Lane into a retail food store and 14 homes.

The land is available after the Suzuki business relocated to Meteor Business Park.

The existing Co-op in Leckhampton Road would be shut to make way for the new purpose-built store.

An application (23/00813/FUL) made to Cheltenham Borough Council does not reveal whether the existing staff would all be relocated there.

It said the store would have "well-considered" car and cycle parking which takes into account "difficulties" at the existing store.

Its location between two busy roundabouts and limited parking provision have created an ongoing problem with highway safety.

Attempts by Mid-Counties Co-op to improve the situation have failed after its plans to turn a neighbouring residential plot into a carpark were refused by the council. It said the loss of housing and impact on other residents was unacceptable.

These new plans show a store with 15 parking and 12 bicycle spaces. It would be topped by eight one-bed and four two-bed flats with 15 parking spaces and 16 bicycle spaces and neighboured by two four-bed detached houses, each with two parking spaces.

None of the homes would be affordable housing and the developers would not be required to pay a Community Infrastructure Levy.

Residents have so far backed the idea with nine letters of support sent to the council and no objections.

One wrote: "This application sorts out an old problem, the current parking is terrible and challenges pedestrian access when motorists park on the pavement. The store itself is cramped.

"The old Wilkins garage can be redeveloped into a new, fit for purpose store that answers local needs very well.

"The plans look very good and it is a great solution to give the local community a much better store, better parking, extra housing and turns a brownfield site into a useful and value added solution."

Co-op also supports the plans and has signed a contract stating it will relocate if the application is successful and redevelop the old store for housing.

A statement by SF Planning on behalf of Boo Homes said: "In developing this scheme, we have been mindful of the current difficulties experienced at the existing Leckhampton Road store.

"The proposal has therefore been fully informed by highway considerations and the need for successful delivery management.

"The proposal offers a significant opportunity to improve highway safety within the locality, while also improving the retail offering for Leckhampton residents, as well as providing an important contribution to local housing supply."

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