Monday, 21 June 2021

Co-op refused use of car park for temporary shop

THE Co-op in Benson has been told to rethink its plans for a temporary shop while it undergoes refurbishment.

The High Street convenience store asked the parish council if it could put a temporary shop in the Mill Stream car park.

But the council refused and instead offered the company a pitch in the parish hall car park in Sunnyside.

The Co-op has asked the council to reconsider as it would prefer to be based in the Mill Stream car park, which is nearer the shop.

Parish councillor Teresa McTeague said: “The people from the Co-op are clearly not very happy and have come back asking if they could come and see us and if we’d reconsider.”

She said the Mill Stream car park was an easier option for the business because it could use its existing telephone lines and computers.

“I can understand why they want to do it,” she said. “They think it would have the opposite effect of disrupting local business.”

In a letter to the council, the Co-op says it wants a “pop-up” shop measuring 3m by 7m, which could be disassembled in 20 minutes, for 16 days.

Councillor McTeague said the shop would take up three parking spaces.

Councillor Tom Stevenson said the council would have “no control” if the temporary shop was located there.

Council vice-chairwoman Patricia Baylis added: “I don’t believe it’ll only be 16 days.” Chairman Bill Pattison said: “Their new proposal doesn’t alleviate the concerns we had in the first place but the option to come here [the parish hall] is still here if they choose.”

At a previous meeting, Cllr McTeague said: “They want to keep some sort of presence for the village while the refurbishment is going on.

“In principle we support it because we realise how important it is for all the parishioners to have access to a local shop, particularly those who haven’t got their own transport.”

The parish council is supported by South Oxfordshire District Council, which owns the Mill Stream car park.

The Co-op has submitted plans to refit the store to the district council.

The work will include redecorating the shop front, frames and doors and installing a new air conditioning unit, a condenser and a compressor on concrete bases within the service yard. There will be a new 2.5m timber fence plant enclosure and a new 2.3m chiller unit to the side of the store with access through a new opening in the external wall.

New Amazon lockers will be installed to the side of the store.

A design and access statement by architects Darnton B3 said: “There will be no change to customer or employee access to and from the site.

“Customer car park spaces will not be affected. Servicing arrangements and staff parking will not be affected.

“With regards to the overall design, the proposals will have little effect on the visual appearance of the building and will be in keeping with proposed materials used.”

The district council will make a decision by September 5.

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