Plans have been published for a drive-thru Costa Coffee adjacent to Sainsbury’s at Rocks Green (24/01061/FUL). This site has planning permission for a petrol filling station but Sainsbury’s did not want to proceed with that and other fuel retailers were not interested. The site was not attractive to finger licking or burger munching takeaways. I don’t know the details of why but a McDonalds, KFC or similar would not suit a residential area due to late night traffic.

This site is an eyesore and in need of development. A coffee house would suit the needs of the local community, who could meet there and of course drink coffee. It will also suit Sainsbury’s customers and passers by on the A49. Additional traffic, though, will mostly be at peak hours.

It is very unlikely to affect town centre footfall as few people drive into town just for a coffee or a bun.

View from Sainsbury’s

Residents will be concerned about extra traffic. The Sainsbury’s junction is only 90 metres from the A49 Rocks Green roundabout. Within that distance there is a signal controlled pedestrian crossing. The road here is overly cluttered with street furniture and pedestrian hazards. Much traffic leaves the A49 at too high a speed.

It is estimated the coffee house will add 88 vehicle movements between 08:00 and 09:00 (100 movements on Saturday) and 42 movements between 17:00 and 18:00 (96 on Saturday).

“The majority of the trips will be either ‘pass-by’ trips which are already on the local highway network, or ‘linked’ trips associated with the Sainsburys foodstore. Developments of this type generate very low levels of ‘new’ or ‘primary’ vehicle trips.”

That misses the point as we are not concerned about extra traffic on the A49 but increased pressure on the A4117 Dun Cow junction. Also, although the report states in the text that there are “very low levels” of new trips, the analytical data show that new trips will be one quarter of all trips.

A critical issue is that the site has permission for a petrol filling station, which would generate more trips than a coffee house which is predicted to generate fewer than 600 trips between 7am and 7pm. Despite this, the analyses provided with the application which are in part a decade old, show that the A4117 Dun Cow junction will be close to or above full capacity. At times, it above capacity now.

We have yet to get an opinion from Shropshire Council’s highways planners but it is very rare for the council to say that traffic projections are unacceptable.

Tracey Huffer at site

Something needs to be built on this site. A coffee house will attract less traffic than a petrol filling station or a burger or chicken chain.

The specification from Costa Coffee was for a drive thru venue. That meant that it could not be within the town itself.

The development will have two disabled parking spaces. There will be just two EV charging points. That’s disappointing but National Grid says it could be five years before there is enough power to the site for more charging points.

A new tenant for Costa Coffee’s former shop in King Street is being signed up and I expecting news about the tenant shortly after Easter.

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