Mill Road Depot Update

So we had a productive community meeting and thanks to the local councilors who attended (Kevin Blencowe, Richard Robertson & Dave Baigent). We also had some expert comment on the Chisholm Trail from Jim Chisholm.

If you have feedback which you would like to communicate to Allies & Morrison, who are preparing the Supplementary Planning Document on behalf of the City Council, you can forward it to Nicola Hillier ( at the council who will forward it.

The summary report to the East Area Committee on January 28th is really pretty good – see it here. It goes so far as to note the desire for low carbon energy generation site, after key issues which cover our concerns.

In our meeting, some opinions did become clearer on reflection and with further discussion.

  • Traffic is a huge local concern. Access must be via Mill Road. The existing access restrictions (Gwydir St, Hooper St) work well although their abuse by some motorcyclists was noted. Emergency vehicle access to the depot site from the north is fine but we need to avoid any chance of it being misused.
  • Everyone would like to see a low car development, which is possible due to the excellent local transport links for all but cars (car access being a problem). This needs to be demonstrably realistic to avoid overspill of unwanted cars onto the surrounding area, however. “No car” development is generally not considered realistic. The need for provision for visitors isn’t noted in current proposals.
  • Any loss of parking resulting from the development – such as the removal of the on-site garages or losses on Hooper Street – needs to be replaced like for like. There will be more pressure on parking from other minor development, Sturton St’s new Islamic College, the possibility of residents’ only parking, etc.; we can’t afford this scheme to contribute to that.
  • It was noted that much local car use is at the “every other weekend” level. There was strong support for allocated car club spaces on site, for the benefit of the site and surrounding area.
  • The Chisholm Trail route as proposed has issues; the tight (> 90 degree) turn onto Hooper Street is a problem in particular. Jim Chisholm notes that the 6m or so of space used for the Chisholm Trail could be placed more centrally in the development and would hugely open up the central space, to a big overall benefit.
  • The Kingston St – Devonshire Road crossing of Mill Road is a noted accident blackspot and it is hoped that measures related to this development can improve that.
  • Housing for the elderly and disabled could well support some of the low traffic aims – and would be popular locally.
  • Social housing would be widely supported as would provision for live-work spaces which we consider a characteristic of this area.
  • The need for community facilities is clear and the combination with CWRC and much needed nursery provision is again mentioned as a very strong approach. The buildings shown on the proposals are fantastic, but the shortage of facilities in the area is really very heavily tilted to the North end of Petersfield, so we would really like to see the major community facilities (including nursery) provision at that end. It may not seem like a huge distance, but with children especially, it matters and there is a real problem right now with even basic things like children’s birthday party bookings, not to mention the shortage of nursery places for the dense central area of Petersfield.
  • We urge Allies & Morrison to consider underground possibilities, particularly for a car park, but recognize cost and benefits may not add up.