Now… CO-OP confirm plans for store at Dairy/Pontcanna Pine!

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Mike (Co-op) with Alan Lane at meeting where they stated they had no store plans for the Dairy

The Co-op contacted us in the last few days with the news that they have reversed their decision about occupying a convenience store at the Dairy/Pontcanna Pine site.

Members of the Co-op Development Team will speak to us at on Thursday 20th June, 7.00pm at a meeting in Chapter Arts Centre, First Space Room (to your right as you come in the main entrance).

Please come along and hear what they have to say and find out why their plans are now considered viable, and how they will address our concerns. There is only space for 60, so please could you let us know if you are going to come along (all larger spaces were booked for this date). Please email us at pontcanna.pine2011@gmail.com. We are aiming to video the meeting and post on the website also. Co-op have emailed us this statement:

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THE CO-OPERATIVE ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR A NEW FOOD STORE IN PONTCANNA

 The Co-operative Group is in discussions to open a food store in the site of a former dairy in the Pontcanna area of Cardiff.

The Kings Road building is currently vacant, and was the focus of speculation last year that The Co-operative Food was intending to open there. At that time The Co-operative had no plans to locate a store there, as the developer’s proposals for a new building on the site would have been unsuitable.

However, the existing building already has planning consent which would allow it to be used for retail, and The Co-operative is now in discussions with the owner about opening a convenience store.

Mike Ash-Edwards, Regional Secretary for The Co-operative Group in Wales, said: “We are mindful of the concerns local people had about previous plans for the site, and we will be consulting with the local community to address these. Our aim is to open a small convenience store, that will enhance the area and complement the existing shops.”

“The dairy building is covered by a Lawful Development Certificate, issued by Cardiff Council in 2008, which allows it to be used for retail. That means that if The Co-operative doesn’t open a store on this site then another retailer will. We feel strongly that a Co-operative food store, with its commitment to ethical trading, such as Fairtrade, and its support for local community groups and charities, will be an asset to the local community.”

The new store would have a sales area of around 2,000 sq ft, and would create around 20 new jobs.”

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OUR REACTION

We are very surprised and disappointed that a convenience store is being considered again despite all the arguments against it, some of which formed the basis for planning refusal of the last scheme. (Click here to see previous post with video of Mike from Co-op)

We understand that this time flats above it are not being proposed, just a conversion of the current building. We do not know if this is the final proposal for the Dairy/Pontcanna Pine or a stepping stone towards a combined store and flats scheme similar to before. We do not have further details at present and so we want to find out more. We are holding the public meeting on Thursday, 20 June at 7pm so the Co-op team can explain their scheme and be available for Q&A. We want to understand how their plans address all previous concerns and issues, including:

  • Traffic congestion caused by delivery vehicles and customers on a very tight corner and narrow streets including conflict with pedestrians and cyclists
  • Parking problems around the proposed store and on adjacent streets
  • Noisy deliveries, at early and late hours
  • Large refuse containers on public pavements
  • Inadequate disabled access
  • Building signage and exterior treatment unsuitable for a Conservation Area
  • A large convenience store with late opening hours in a dense, residential area.
  • Direct competition with, and taking business from, the local independent shops that contribute to Pontcanna’s vitality and character.

     We also want to know:

  • why they changed their mind – a different offer from the owners or a change in policy?
  • if they are buying, leasing or renting the site or building, if so for how long?
  • precisely what are they proposing for the building and the site?
  • What additional studies have been undertaken to justify their new proposals?
  • why an additional store is needed in the area with Tescos etc so close?
  • what they are likely to sell eg alcohol, flowers, vegetables, meat, bread?
  • and a proposed timeline for the development.

We are sending this list to the Co-op so we can be sure they can answer them for us. But we would like other queries we have not thought of to be raised at the meeting. We hope to see you at the meeting, if you are unable to attend and wish to comment please do so as a reply to this post. Thank  you.

11 thoughts on “Now… CO-OP confirm plans for store at Dairy/Pontcanna Pine!

  1. What a childish response from the Co-op: if we don’t ruin the area, someone else will!

    How can we use this space productively for the community? How about an Indycube co-working space. There are many people in the area who work at and from home. A co-working space would be ideal and should not generate additional traffic as users would be local. Indycube is a Community Interest Company. see http://www.indycube.com

    They would create more jobs with only a positive local impact.

    • Good suggestion, one that has been brought up several times before. If someone led on this and was interested in putting a proposal together then we would be happy to publicise. However, its not our decision, its the developers. They were the ones who approached the Coop so are obviously still keen to get on a dense-use retail outlet on the site.

  2. How can you oppose it before you’ve seen all the details and proposals? Would you oppose any ‘chain’ store anywhere in Pontcanna?

    • Hi Thanks for commenting. The last planning application unanimously rejected the store proposals due to parking and access, there is a history behind the site which has been going on since 2011 – its listed on the site if you wish to see why people are against this type of store. As we have stated previously, we support stores which are appropriate not ones which do not comply with council regulations.

    • We organised for the Co-op a community meeting on June 20 where 4 of their team attended, so they were able to present their plans – did you attend? It was on the site and we tweeted it. Our evidence to oppose it is through the surveys we have previously commissioned, there are certain areas that will not change and that the council have previously rejected plans based on these – more information on the site.

  3. I’m sorry I won’t be able to be at the 20 June meeting, but here’s another concern: we shop fairly regularly at the Co-op in Cowbridge Road (formerly a Somerfield), partly for convenience — it’s easy to park there, it’s never too busy, it has most of what we want, including decent inexpensive wine — but also because it’s Not Bloody Tesco. Does the Co-op’s eyeing of the Pontcanna Pine site mean it’s thinking of abandoning its Cowbridge Road store? That stretch of Cowbridge Rd already seems somewhat underutilised (I wonder how much longer that Peacock’s branch is going to last for instance), so it would be a bad thing all round if the Co-op moved from there, where it belongs, to Kings Rd, where it doesn’t.

    • Thanks John, we will ask this question for you at the meeting – the Coop are sending 4 people so hopefully one will now the answer. We will post a meeting synposis after the event.

    • HI no they are not going to close any other stores. They identified ‘leakage’ where people spend money outside Pontcanna and feel there is an opportunity for them to stop this leakage.

  4. I live on Kings Road and I am in principle not against a co-op store at the Dairy. Provided some of the issues are addressed, it can only be a good thing for the area. It is a co-op, the Dairy area will finally be used, footprint around the area will increase which will benefit smaller shops and coffeehouses around it (like Caban and Kemi’s and the flower shop). It will also encourage local retailers to provide a better offering (Sometimes the offering is too expensive and in some cases the choice is very limited). It would definitely be better than having to go to Tesco’s on Cowbridge road which has a very limited and often dreadful offering. It also avoids, for the catchment area, to do further car trips to outside town supermarkets.
    I would suggest that working with them rather than opposing the plans could be a great way forward. There could be scope for incorporating small local businesses within the store itself, offering higher quality produce.

    • Thanks for your comment Pol, did you attend the Co-op consultation meeting last week? Many people such as yourself are in principle not against a Co-op due to the brand values they project, so it is worth sharing their current plans for the store so people can base their decision on this rather than perceptions of a brand. They clearly stated that they would have to be open 7am – 10pm and have an alcohol licence to operate a commercially viable store in this location. It is a 2000 sq foot store so much smaller than the Tescos Cowbridge Road store. They gave the impression that there is no scope or flexibility in their plans, no smaller store or farmers market style concession. They are only taking the Dairy building and were not interested in offering any other of their services there. We will update the site in the next couple of days with more detailed information.

  5. We moved to Pontcanna in 2009 and one of the main attractions was the family feel to the area and the ‘local’ shops – butchers, grocers, bakers, large open spaces/parks etc.

    Why should we accept a franchise moving into the area which will drive down prices and draw cliental from the local shops – it is hard enough in this economy for small businesses to flourish.

    Why can’t the Dairy be used for the community? I’m just concerned that Pontcanna will lose it’s family/community feel and intimacy. Who owns the dairy and can it be bought via community funding?

    What reassurances will the co-op, give to the immediate residence of Kings Rd, who will be impacted by the take over/refurbishments etc.?

    Will the co-op have a positive or negative impact to Pontcanna & Kings Rd? By the Co-op taking over the Dairy will the house prices of Kings Rd decrease?

    I’m also concerned about:

    – The traffic impact on the area – the roads weren’t designed for large lorries and vehicles. It is
    difficult enough to drive a car around central Pontcanna.
    – Damage to vehicles caused by delivery trucks whilst negotiating the small roads.
    – The disruption to the area whilst the large refurbishment/construction takes place.
    – Parking – most of the footfall may be pedestrian but there will be added vehicle traffic.
    – Decrease in property value – no one wants to live next to a supermarket!

    Dave.

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