Council officers recommend Abbey Wood Travelodge and Greggs scheme for approval

Visualisation of proposed Travelodge hotel and Greggs drive-through unit.
Visualisation of proposed Travelodge hotel and Greggs drive-through unit at Abbey Wood Shopping Park.

A planning application for the construction of a Travelodge hotel and a Greggs drive-through near the entrance to the Abbey Wood Retail Park in Filton was recommended for approval by officers at South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) in mid-October. However, the case is now having to be reconsidered by the planning department after it was pointed out that although most of the development site lies within the Filton town boundary, a small part sits within Stoke Gifford and the parish council there had not been formally consulted.

The proposed development site is a 0.4ha area of grassland located between the access road into the retail park and the A4174, just to the east of the existing McDonald’s restaurant.

The four-storey, 85-bed Travelodge and single-storey Greggs outlet would share a new 49-space car park, accessed from the existing road which leads into McDonald’s.

The development would create 25 full-time-equivalent jobs.

The applicant envisages that customers of the Greggs outlet will predominantly use the parking spaces in the day with the guests of the hotel using these during the evening and morning hours. Registered hotel guests will be also be allowed to use the main parking area at the shopping park as an overspill. In their report, council officers accepted the applicant’s analysis, saying they “do not consider [car parking provision] to be a problem”.

Image: Aerial view showing site of proposed Travelodge hotel and Greggs drive-through unit.
Aerial view showing site of proposed Travelodge hotel and Greggs drive-through unit.

Referring to SGC’s local plan, which calls for more ‘comparison’ retail space to be provided within the Stoke Gifford District Centre, the applicant had claimed this requirement is out of step with market demand, and says this has been “exacerbated by Covid-19”. In their report, officers acknowledged that the evidence underpinning this policy is now “very dated”, conceding that it is “unlikely to be an accurate reflection of today’s retail need”.

Justifying the need for another hotel in the area, the applicant had claimed the forthcoming YTL Arena in Filton could be expected create a “significant level of demand”. Officers agreed, saying the hotel would play a part in fulfilling the economic demands created by the arena.

Concerns raised by the council’s landscape and urban design specialists have resulted in the applicant revising some aspects of the scheme, to the satisfaction of officers. The revisions include additional tree, hedge and shrub planting, the introduction of feature paving and a change to lighter-coloured metal cladding panels on the hotel.

Advertising image.

As we went to press, we learned that Stoke Gifford Parish Council, after considering the application at its planning committee meeting on 27th October, had lodged an objection.

The grounds for objection are given as lack of parking bays, the area already having sufficient hotels, the site not being designated for C1 hotel use, loss of trees, traffic congestion and pollution.

SGC officers say they will now reconsider the case and determine it according to the council’s constitution. Should the officer recommendation remain one of approval, local ward members could, in sufficient numbers, ‘call in’ the application for determination by an SGC planning committee.

More information: Planning application P20/08495/F

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on page 23). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

Update: Application ‘called in’ by councillors

Added 8th December 2020.

An updated officer report, taking into account the objections raised by Stoke Gifford Parish Council, was published on 5th November 2020. The officer recommendation remained one of approval.

The planning application was subsequently ‘called in’ by Stoke Gifford councillor Ernie Brown, with the support of Filton councillor Christopher Wood and the agreement of Cllr Keith Burchell (chair of SGC’s Development Management Committee).

The grounds given by Cllr Brown were:

“Insufficient car parking bays, 15 spaces for 85 rooms and employees, not in line with PSP guidance. Under normal circumstances Abbey Wood retail car park is very congested and is not able to take any overflow from the hotel. There are more than sufficient takeaways and hotels in the area, what is lacking is A1 retail space as recommended in the 2016 Stoke Gifford District plan. (It should be noted, due to Covid-19 restrictions the retail park is currently not as congested as in normal circumstances, however we need to take pre Covid-19 circumstances into account).”

The grounds given by Cllr Wood were:

“The plans for an 85-bedroom hotel with the potential for an additional 85 vehicles parking in the Abbey Wood Retail Park or in one of the wholly insufficient 15 car parking spaces provided with the proposal is wholly inappropriate. There is already severe traffic congestion at the Abbey Wood Roundabout, and within the car park at the Abbey Wood Retail Park, which often leads to shoppers being stuck within the retail park car park for over an hour in the evening rush hour, this will severely add to these problems. It is proposed to build this complex over parkland, this goes against South Gloucestershire’s Climate Emergency and is unjustified urbanisation.”

The application will now be determined by councillors on SGC’s Development Management Committee when it meets on Thursday 10th December 2020. Meeting agenda and reports [item 12 refers].

Update: Permission granted

Added 10th December 2020.

SGC’s Development Management Committee has today granted planning permission for the proposed scheme, by seven votes to one with one abstention.

View a video recording of the meeting [item starts at 1:24 and ends at 2:33].

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