At the recent meeting of the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee, Councillors discussed a number of development proposals in the Town Centre, including a controversial multi-story housing and retail plan at Broadway shopping Centre. The committee had agreed to defer the decision on the plan in September, to allow consideration of detailed points raised by the Lib Dem and Independent Councillors.
The proposals are part of the Local Plan review required to meet the Government’s demand for a further 40% increase in yearly housing numbers from 2022. Many residents and visiting councillors attending the meeting spoke of their concerns and a petition objecting to the Broadway plan was presented.
Lib Dem Council Leader Martin Cox, attending as a visiting member, asked the Committee to consider the views and concerns of the public by rejecting the proposed Broadway plan and saving the shopping centre site.
During discussion on this and other town centre sites Lib Dem Cllr Clive English moved an amendment to the Riverside proposal, seeking the strengthening of policy to ensure delivery of infrastructure, including local school and medical facilities and to address traffic issues. Finally, the Committee voted unanimously to reject the proposed Broadway scheme and consider safeguarding the site for retail uses within the review of the Local Plan to prevent a future development proposal coming forward.
Local Lib Dem Councillor for Bridge Georgia Harvey commented, “I am so proud of my Lib Dem colleagues whose constructive comments in September, allowed this plan, which had been recommended for approval, to be deferred for additional consideration. I am now delighted that the shopping centre has been protected and our demand for schools, medical facilities, enhanced design and landscaping and the promised pedestrian river crossing was endorsed by the committee.”
She added, “Local school and medical facilities are already stretched and at breaking point and we are determined that these be considered as part of any agreement to increase housing in our local area”