Estella Tincknell writes
One of the good things about living in a city should be being able to pop out to the shops on your doorstep for a paper, milk or bread, and not to have to go too far for the weekly shop - especially if you do not have a car.
One of the good things about living in a city should be being able to pop out to the shops on your doorstep for a paper, milk or bread, and not to have to go too far for the weekly shop - especially if you do not have a car. Unfortunately, this is not so easy in Lockleaze these days. I know older residents will remember the days when Gainsborough Square was a thriving shopping centre, which even had a Co-op department store, and of course our local convenience stores, Buzz café and the Polish shop offer a reasonable range, but they cannot easily compete with the major chains. Better shopping facilities locally has been a priority for many for a long time.
Gill Kirk and I have been working on this, but it needs private investment to make it happen. Many major supermarket chains prefer to locate on major roads, and it has been very difficult to get any interest in setting up a suitable supermarket on Gainsborough Square. In the longer term, the housing developments now in the pipeline will bring more people to the area and make schemes for new shops more viable. In the meantime there have been various proposals for developing sites on Muller Road, most recently the planning application from Lidl to develop the old bus garage site.
Such schemes may well add to the problem of congestion, which will need to be managed through conditions on improved air quality and traffic management if the application is approved. But the store would also not only bring badly needed additional shopping facilities but around 40 jobs. We have therefore supported the application in principle with caveats around the environmental impact that we would wish to see addressed by the developers and the importance of ensuring local people have proper access to employment opportunities. Of course, Eastgate Retail Park is also within the boundaries of Lockleaze ward, although it is not always very easy to get to for local people, especially on foot. We are working with the management there to improve access and to mitigate problems which impact on the community.
What is needed is a plan to deal with development, congestion, access, and air quality along Muller Road and the surrounding area. Council officers have been undertaking a survey of traffic and we’ll report back on their findings. Perhaps an informal group of residents living around the Muller Road area could be set up to consider these issues and act as the fulcrum for discussion. We councillors would be happy to be part of this – we want to know your views on these important changes. Let us know what you think!