Tony Williamson, Director of Angle Property, spoke with Phone Box Magazine to show their plans within the town of Olney.
I am delighted to confirm that, following the grant of planning permission last autumn, construction has now begun on the long-awaited supermarket at the corner of Lavendon Road and Warrington Road, Olney. The store is scheduled to open in the autumn and will be operated by Sainsbury’s.
Readers may recall that previously a large supermarket and petrol filling station on the site was proposed and a planning application submitted by Sainsbury’s in 2014. Despite widespread public support for that scheme, Milton Keynes Council refused planning permission for it in 2016 – in part due to concerns that the size of it would be too harmful to the “health” of the town centre. At the same time, shopping patterns began changing as shoppers started making an increasing proportion of purchases online. Arising from this, all supermarket operators reviewed the size of the stores that they require, and the operational efficiency of them, this resulted in them moving away from the larger stores that they previously preferred. The message from Milton Keynes Council, and from Sainsbury’s themselves, was that a store of the size proposed in 2014 is too large to serve Olney.
My company, Angle Property, is a locally based Buckinghamshire property development company. We acquired the Lavendon Road site in June 2017. This was around the time that the Olney Neighbourhood Plan was adopted, allocating the site for retail use and possibly a petrol filling station. After marketing and discussions with a whole range of food store operators, Saisbury’s was selected as our preferred retailer. We felt that Sainsbury’s understand the town well and has a comprehensive, high-quality retail offer. In addition, Sainsbury’s were prepared to commit to the largest store of any operators at 17,500 square feet. In my view, it will be of a suitable size and scale to meet the needs of residents of Olney and surrounding villages. Neither Sainsbury’s, nor any of the other supermarket operators, were proposing a petrol-filling staion. Last year we, therefore, submitted a planning application for this reduced size supermarket to both address MK planners concerns and also reflect operator requirements.
Shoppers will, therefore, have a convenient supermarket for their weekly needs, and will no longer need to spend time travelling further afield for their food shopping. As a result of staying in the town for such trips, people are more likely to make associated “linked trips” to the town centre, which will provide a boost to the town overall. Arising from this, Milton Keynes made no objection to the impact of the scheme on Olney Town centre and granted planning permission for the application.
I have now appointed Parkway Construction, a local Milton Keynes construction company, to build the supermarket. Construction commenced in January, and I anticipate that we will complete the store to enable opening in Autumn 2019.
The store is designed to best fit on the site at the prominent roundabout location. It comprises an impressive glazed frontage along with a slick mono-pitch style roof. The 110 space car park will be access off Lavendon Road. Delivery vehicles will be separated from customers, through a separate service access off the main A509 Warrington Road.
We are now considering options for the remaining two acres of our ownership for retail use, the new Sainsbury’s will deliver the intention of the Plan, and the long-standing local desire, to have a high-quality, modern supermarket on the site. We have been undertaking a marketing campaign to identify any other possible retail uses or demand for the site since June 2018 but this has been unsuccessful. Given this, we are now considering whether there are any other uses that might be suitable for the site. We will consult on our proposals with the Town Council and the wider public in due course, before any further planning application for the balance of the site is submitted.
Finally, as with any construction work, this can involve short-term disruption. I would like to apologise in advance for this disruption, particularly the elements of work that will unavoidably require work both in Warrington and Lavendon Roads and will impact traffic.
If you do at any time have any queries in connection, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published in Phone Box Magazine in February 2019.
For more information on Angle Property and their projects, view their site here.