Morrisons has announced plans to build a new supermarket in Nuneaton, to be located on the site of the Nuneaton Rail Depot off Midland Road (located between Jodrell Street and the railway). Whilst I would generally welcome the investment and jobs that this would provide, I have a number of concerns about the proposal at this time. Saying that, I would like to see redevelopment occur in the area which feels very industrial and unwelcoming despite bordering residential areas.
My objections and concerns are listed below. I will submit these to Morrisons via their project website – www.morrisons-nuneaton.co.uk – and would ask that others put their own comments in too. Some of this may seem a little off-topic for a cycling and active travel themed website, but bear with me – cycling does play a part, and you can jump to those comments if you’d prefer to skip the other bits!
Location and traffic management
The location of the proposed site stands to increase motor traffic on the already congested Midland Road – including the creation of heavy goods traffic for supermarket supply, and potential light goods vehicles should the supermarket offer local delivery services. On this basis, unless traffic issues can be sufficiently mitigated through road network improvements (including the provision of a high quality cycle network through the area to minimise the use of motor vehicles for local transport), this site would not appear to be suitable for a supermarket.
If this development were to go ahead at this location, junction work would be required to ensure accessible, safe, comfortable and easy pedestrian and cycle access from roads located on the south side of Midland Road via Stanley Road.
Petrol station and EV charging
The proposal to install a new petrol filling station is redundant, unnecessary, and should not be progressed. Not only would creating such a new facility be working in contradiction to the requirements to reduce carbon emissions (of which transport is currently a major contributor), it is unnecessary given the location of the Texaco filling stations located approximately 350m south-east along Midland Road; 1.7km to the north-west on Tuttle Hill.
The provision of a new filling station at this location will add further traffic and pollution to an already congested area.
While I would object to a new petrol filling station, the provision of standardised EV chargers is reasonable. However, the power for these must be from 100% renewable sources to maximise the benefits of electric vehicles.
The “Sustainable Future” page makes reference to measures to reduce the environmental footprint of the store. This development must be sustainable, including in construction and materials, and using all indicated measures to minimise resource requirements whilst generating as much of its own power on-site as possible. Excess power must be fed into the National Grid for the benefit of the wider community.
It is unclear what improvements to the existing bus stops are proposed. However, to maximise the attractiveness of visiting by public transport, buses should be routed into the site with a stop located near the main entrance.
There appears to be no access to the site from the east using the footpath leading to a pedestrian bridge over the railway. It would be sensible to provide pedestrian access here to minimise the distance local people living on the neighbouring estate need to travel to access the supermarket.
It is not clear from the plans what cycle accommodation will be provided through the site, and the “Sustainable Future” page only makes passing reference to cycling. However, active travel needs to be put front and centre of the designs to mitigate against increasing motor traffic and to enable real alternatives to driving. This includes not only staff and shopper access, but potentially also delivery services using e-cargo cycles.
The plan appears to suggest that there is no dedicated safe route for people on cycles to access the supermarket from the Midland Road entrance. A safe route separate and independent to the car park must be provided to bring cycles to a covered, secure storage facility located at (and in clear view of) the supermarket building entrance. All cycle facilities (routes and secure storage) must be designed to accommodate the Cycle Design Vehicle given in cycle design guidance (e.g., LTN 1/20) to ensure that cargo/utility cycles, cycles with trailers, and other non-standard cycles can access the supermarket safely and securely.
It would be beneficial to provide a fully separated LTN 1/20 compliant pedestrian and cycle route (e.g., 2m footpath + 3m bidirectional cycle path) to run from the Midland Road entrance along the south-east boundary of the site, connecting not only to the supermarket itself, but also to the footbridge over the railway. Although outside of the site boundary, working with appropriate third-parties, that bridge should be upgraded to create a pedestrian/cycle crossing to connect to Stoney Road and the wider National Cycle Network.
Similarly, cycle upgrades should be provided on Midland Road to connect with the Coventry Canal and the National Cycle Network running south on the towpath, and on Midland Road towards Corporation Street and Abbey Green. This will help to integrate the supermarket with the cycle network whilst also providing general improvements to cycling in the town.