How can ASDA etc do it all?
PUBLISHED: 02:01 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:57 10 June 2010
The proposals this time round are very different to those of two and three years ago, including, as they do, a lot of things the cash-strapped councils would like to be able to provide but can't without going into partnership with the private sector, who
The proposals this time round are very different to those of two and three years ago, including, as they do, a lot of things the cash-strapped councils would like to be able to provide but can't without going into partnership with the private sector, who can.So: there is a danger therefore of throwing the baby out with the bathwater if ASDA is rejected out of hand without giving the proposals serious consideration.Apart from the list of what's included and the intention to install things, including a shop able to compete with Tesco, close to the town centre - thereby better enabling its central business district and what is now proposed to be built, to feed off and help each other - little is known and so prejudice and extreme assertions are already going the rounds, providing a poor basis for evaluating just what these new proposals may really mean.Clearly traffic, parking, access and where to put it all have given rise to a host of unanswered questions, all fuelling doubts about the feasibility of it all and its worth. Tesco has a retail floor, to which the public has access, of about 76 x 80 yards or 54,750 sq ft, plus perhaps as much again in bakery, storage and administration and a car park of about 400 spaces and a filling station of about 15,000 sq ft. They also have an option to expand the shop onto land next door.So any new ASDA, to compete with that, will clearly swallow a lot of the estuaryside parking spaces. As will the other planned associated buildings, which will generate their own traffic and parking requirements. This could result in a loss of more than 400 existing spaces there, whilst at the same time generate a need for 640 additional new spaces - of which 128 or so were already catered for amongst the existing 400 spaces. In all, there is need to accommodate a total of about 900 vehicles once building is complete, with coaches and lorries accommodated elsewhere, although there is no suggestion as yet where they will go.Waiting in the wings is also the possibility that a Jurassic Coast tourist attraction might happen close by, increasing enormously the flow of traffic on Imperial Road between the two roundabouts, across which it is unrealistically expected pedestrians of all sorts and ages, mums with pushchairs and kiddies, dogs, wheelchairs, tricycle walkers, disabled, battery mobiles, will be able to move freely.So if ASDA etc is to be given serious consideration, its needs must be so arranged as to enable it to work, whilst having full regard to the realistic size and location of the buildings and the traffic and parking provisions it will need to accommodate. What this might look like as a diagrammatic sketch concept is shown notionally drawn (right).A waterside park with buildings it is not, but getting everything on the list onto the site in a realistic expression of its required size could enable some tree planting and tightly clipped shrub beds amongst grass and footpaths to soften some of it, so it would depend heavily on successful, skilful architecture to give it any sort of widespread appeal.I hope therefore that ASM/ASDA, the three councils and their officers, and other members of the public, give ASDA's new proposals serious consideration, so enabling the town to get a satisfactory, modern, practical edge-of-town-centre development of wide general appeal. Patrick Moore,18 Hamilton Court, Salterton Road, Exmouth.