The council’s Local Review Body decided in October to see the area at Unit 1 The Gateway Avonmill Industrial Estate for themselves after complaining that, despite pages of photographs of other snack bars, there was little actual detail about plans from Jordan Wright other than a rough location map .
Local member Provost Tom Kerr had specific concerns about transport – despite the fact that roads engineers had expressed no view about the area at the initial hearing. The LRB agreed on a site visit, with transport and environmental health officers attending.
Mr Wright said he had spoken with businesses on the site who had no objections, and he was prepared to make the container snack bar as visually unobtrusive as possible.
He also offered to cone off a section of road for customer parking. Planning officials pointed out that this was not in his power to do so.
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There had been objections to the original application, including several from other takeaway providers in the area, but it was traffic concerns from objectors which were among the reasons why officers had refused the application originally.
Mr Wright had won the right to appeal to the Local Review Body because he felt it unfair that no site visit had taken place.
The original report said that all users of the industrial estate would pass the snack bar entering Avonmill. This would lead to an increase of traffic around the entry because customers would stop off to visit the takeaway.
One of the objectors – a business owner on the estate added: “ I can attest to the high levels of traffic passing in and out of the estate- especially HGV vehicles.
“Whilst there are parking spaces nearby these are for customers visiting shops. Vehicles are likely to stop on the verge and this will cause obstruction to traffic from four directions.”
Provost Kerr asked why there was such divergence between the transport officer’s view, that there should be no objection from that particular council department, and the comments from objectors which were supported by officers.
He said: “Under transportation there were no objections but when we come to conclusion there are. Is this opposing view mainly down to two opposing views of different officers?”
Senior Planner Chris Alcorn told the committee that the transport officer at the time didn’t actually view the site. It was the development management officer’s view “having taken internal and external consultation that there would be traffic implications here”.
Provost Kerr said: “I think the concern there is, it might have been better if he had gone on site. I am going to go along with the recommendations. It’s pretty obvious there will be cars stopped there. It’s not the easiest stretch of road to get access into an industrial estate at the best of times. I have seen buses parked in that area as well, causing complete havoc.”
He was supported by Councillor Lawrence Fitzpatrick, who said: “It’s a very poor location.”
He added that vehicles approaching from Bo’ness Road would not be able to access the estate road safely, and drivers would be parked to have their coffee and bacon rolls.