At this stage, I have submitted the following comments to planning officers. I will be following progress on this application very closely.
- It seems that access into the shopping centre has to be made by walking through the car park which is hardly ideal.
- it would appear that vehicles would cross pedestrian routes not once but twice and this might not be clear to anyone unfamiliar with the area. I think there are highway safety issues here.
- The landscape proposals are extremely modest and could be greatly improved.
- Reallocating land from retail/pedestrians to vehicles would seem to contradict council policy in terms of sustainable/active travel. This is particularly relevant here given the proximity to rail and bus services.
- Are colleagues in regeneration being consulted on this? A development with questionable scope for linked shopping trips may not sit well with existing plans/aspirations for the area.
- There are already McDonalds outlets at Charing Cross and Rock Park. Perhaps you could clarify any cumulative impact policies that might be relevant here?
If the restaurant were to be be moved to the east side of Milton Pavement mall and mirrored so that the access faced onto the mall, the drive thro' access could then be taken from the car park roundabout and leave by the Birkenhead Market Service Road.
The building would then screen the ugly back view of the market, the waste storage would be at the back, the pedestrian mall would have no dangerous cross circulation with traffic. The proposed parking would now be sited on the present footprint of the restaurant, and would be accessed from the service area behind B&M.
Doing this avoids the poorly arranged access to the roundabout, all the nebulous and conflicting circulation, maintains Milton Pavement as a way into the Pyramids, and would allow some much better landscape detailing to enhance the maintained Mall access.
Given that there is so much parking around the Pyramids I would have thought that the surplus land would be much better used to create an attractive landscape setting for the restaurant and entrance to the shopping area. Some of the coffee houses in the precinct have used their external space for sitting outside, admittedly for smokers, but it does make the precinct look more welcoming.