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Aldridge in the future,
The plans to develop and improve Aldridge in Walsall, WS9, west midlands

   

Walsall Unitary Development Plan, As adopted by the Walsall Council on 7th March 2005, a document to plan the future development of Aldridge area

Regeneration Directorate
Walsall Council
Civic Centre
Darwall Street
Walsall
WS1 1DG

The development plan for WALSALL COUNCIL ( Chapter 13 for Aldridge ) All information here is found via the “Planning portal” which is © Crown Copyright 2007 for which I give full acknowledgement and have shown here to make the information easier to access and more widely available.

Plan Admin Details
Plan effective start date 1 April 2001
Plan effective end date 31 March 2011
Plan status Adopted
Chapter 13: Aldridge District Centre

Introduction
13.1 Aldridge is a relatively attractive and affluent District Centre. It contains a large superstore; a shopping precinct which includes many familiar retail chains selling mainly convenience goods; and the High Street and Anchor Road areas which, as well as shops, includes several banks and service uses. The level of vacancies of premises is extremely low reflecting the stability of the centre.
13.2 There are, however, a number of opportunities, within or directly adjacent to the centre, to improve both the environment and the range of facilities available. For example, the refurbishment / redevelopment of the Precinct and its environs would greatly transform the shopping environment of the centre. There is also the opportunity to provide retailing, with office or residential development above, on land at the corner of High Street and Little Aston Road; this prominent parcel of land has remained undeveloped for many years and has become overgrown and unsightly. Policies for these opportunities are included in this Inset Plan.

13.3 It should also be noted that adjacent to the District Centre (and just outside the area of this Inset Plan) there is a significant opportunity to improve the leisure and community facilities on Anchor Meadow for the Aldridge community as a whole. This area is protected as urban open space under Policy LC1 (see Chapter 8). The current leisure / community buildings have a generally poor appearance and fall significantly short of accommodating the range of potential uses which the site could provide; a new leisure / community centre could, for example, be provided. The Croft also provides an opportunity to enhance the leisure facilities of the centre.

Land Use And Development
Policy AL1: Primary Shopping Area
Environment And Conservation
13.5 The centre of Aldridge has a long history of settlement and includes both land of archaeological significance and a conservation area. The nucleus of a former medieval village is believed to have been in the area around St. Mary’s church. The Croft reveals visible markings, suggesting the existence of previous human activity, when viewed from the air. Land in this area, including The Croft, properties either side of High Street and land to the east including the Manor House, the church and Cooper and Jordan Schools, is registered as being of archaeological importance on the Black Country Sites and Monuments Record and will be subject to protection under Policy ENV25 in Chapter 3.

13.6 The conservation area includes land around the core of the historic centre and also extends beyond the Inset Plan boundary into the adjacent residential area. The conservation area will be protected under Policy ENV29 in Chapter 3.

Policy AL2: Environmental Improvement
Policy AL3: The Croft
Development / Investment Opportunities
Policy AL4: The Precinct
Policy AL5: Land at High Street / Little Aston Road
Accessibility And Circulation
Policy AL6: Rail Station
Policy AL7: Pedestrian and Cycle Routes
Policy AL8: Traffic Circulation and Bus Priority
Policy AL9: Car Parking
Policy AL1: Primary Shopping Area
(a) The primary shopping area is shown on the Inset Map. This consists of the Precinct with its frontages to the High Street, Anchor Road and Croft Parade, plus existing shopping areas at the northern end of Anchor Road, along the High Street and at the northern end of Rookery Lane. New retail development and investment will be concentrated within this area and the Precinct is identified as an opportunity for new investment (see Policy AL4), whilst another development opportunity is identified at High Street / Little Aston Road (see Policy AL5).

(b) Outside the primary shopping area the Council will encourage service, leisure, community or other town centre uses. Retail development will be acceptable where it can be linked directly to the primary shopping frontages.

Justification AL1: Primary Shopping Area

13.4 The purpose of this policy is to ensure that any additional retail development or investment is directed towards the primary shopping area at the heart of the centre in the interests of maintaining the compactness of the centre and ensuring that new facilities are properly integrated with the existing shopping centre. At the same time, it also allows for the diversification and expansion of other town centre facilities.

Policy AL2: Environmental Improvement

The Council will seek to improve the environment and appearance of the centre, including encouraging landowners to improve their land and premises. The following sites, as identified on the Inset Map, are considered as priorities for environmental enhancement:-

Land corner of Aldridge by-pass and Portland Road.
Land fronting Anchor Parade adjacent to Anchor Road.
Car park off Rookery Lane.
Corner land adjoining Aldridge Social Club, High Street.
Parking forecourt to the front and rear of 1-27 Anchor Road.
Land corner of Walsall Wood Road and Little Aston Road.

Justification AL2: Environmental Improvement

13.7 The District Centre generally has a good environment and appearance. It includes The Croft open space in the east and is bounded to the west by the Anchor Meadow playing fields. Properties are generally viable and well maintained. Nevertheless, there are some small areas of land which require enhancement. The co-operation of private landowners will be required to achieve many of these improvements.

Policy AL3: The Croft

The Croft, will be protected as an area of Urban Open Space under Policy LC1 in Chapter 8 of this Plan.

Justification AL3: The Croft

13.8 The Croft is a valuable urban open space providing a “village green” close to the heart of the centre. It includes a children’s play area and also a number of important pedestrian routes linking the centre to nearby residential areas.

Policy AL4: The Precinct

(a) The Council will encourage the refurbishment or redevelopment of the Precinct and its immediate environs.

(b) Refurbishment should provide a glazed roof over the pedestrian walkways / square within the Precinct. Consideration should be given to the creation of an additional shop unit through the relocation of the market to The Square, subject to the agreement of the market and other traders and the local community. Other refurbishment works should include appropriate paving, the removal of canopies, the removal of ‘clutter’, particularly along Anchor Parade, which currently impedes the free flow of pedestrians, and the rationalisation of parking and servicing provision.

(c) In the event of redevelopment of the Precinct, the Council would consider favourably the inclusion of other uses such as housing and leisure facilities within an overall shopping scheme.

Justification AL4: The Precinct

13.9 The Precinct offers a relatively poor shopping environment at present, having a rather dated and bleak appearance. The square and the parades leading to it would benefit from glazed roofing to give weather protection and repaving of the whole area is desirable. Anchor Parade is cluttered with canopy supports, advertising hoardings, bins etc., which impede the free flow of pedestrians. The main entrance to the Precinct off Anchor Road particularly requires soft and hard landscaping to improve its visual quality. Refurbishment of the Precinct in these ways would help to transform it into a modern, attractive shopping environment. Redevelopment, would be another option which could transform the area, providing the opportunity for an improved shopping environment and possibly incorporating leisure and housing uses, and also the rationalisation of the service yards and car parks which currently are highly visible and unsightly along Rookery Lane.

Policy AL5: Land at High Street / Little Aston Road

This site, offers the opportunity to provide retail units with office or residential space above. It occupies a prominent location within the District Centre and Conservation Area and as such requires a high quality of design. Car parking to the rear for private / public use will be required.

Justification AL5: Land at High Street / Little Aston Road

13.10 This site offers the opportunity for retail, with office or residential uses above, although a previous planning permission for retail and office use has now lapsed. The site occupies a prominent corner location which requires good design in order to contribute positively to the character of the District Centre and the Conservation Area.

Policy AL6: Rail Station

The Council supports the provision of a railway station for Aldridge, with associated park and ride facility, on land at Anchor Meadow.

Justification AL6: Rail Station

13.11 The introduction of passenger rail services by the creation of a new station would be of enormous benefit to the District Centre. The West Midlands Local Transport Plan includes a proposal for the introduction of passenger rail services from Aldridge to Walsall and Wolverhampton, subject to the availability of resources. The Council also wishes to see services extended to other destinations, including Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham, for the station to reach its full potential. Outline planning permission has been granted for the station at Aldridge. As well as having a park and ride facility, it is also important that the station has good pedestrian links to the core of the District Centre and bus services.

Policy AL7: Pedestrian and Cycle Routes

The Council will seek to improve pedestrian and cycle routes both within the centre and linking it to the surrounding area. Particular attention will be given to improving:-

Croft Parade.
Routes from Anchor Road to the health centre and proposed station at Anchor Meadow, including the crossing facilities on the by-pass.

Justification AL7: Pedestrian and Cycle Routes

13.12 Pedestrian routes through the District Centre are well established. At night when the Precinct is closed, Croft Parade provides a useful east west route between The Croft and Anchor Road. Some improvement works to provide better lighting, renew fencing, and provide gates to enclose a rear service yard would make the path more attractive and safe for pedestrians.

13.13 As noted in Policy AL6, it is important that the proposed new station and the health centre at Anchor Meadow are well linked to the core of the District Centre and bus services. There is potential to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists across the by-pass.

Policy AL8: Traffic Circulation and Bus Priority

Traffic in Anchor Road will be restricted to buses and access to existing premises only; general through traffic will be prohibited. The Council will support the introduction of a Bus Showcase scheme to serve Aldridge and will undertake any highway works necessary to facilitate this.

Justification AL8: Traffic Circulation and Bus Priority

13.14 Construction of the Aldridge by-pass has greatly improved traffic circulation around the District Centre. Traffic surveys indicate, however, that excessive amounts of through traffic are still using Anchor Road. In order to protect highway safety and ensure that Anchor Road does not become a barrier to pedestrian movement between different parts of the centre it is important that traffic using Anchor Road is kept to a minimum. Aldridge is to be served by a Bus Showcase scheme in Centro’s 20 Year Public Transport Strategy; implementation of this may require some works to highways in the centre to assist bus movement and improve terminus facilities. Policy T2 in Chapter 7 includes further guidance on the design of bus lanes, termini, stops and lay-over areas. Early consultation will be undertaken with statutory undertakers, public transport operators and others in considering bus priority in the district centre.

Policy AL9: Car Parking

The provision of additional surface-level car parking for shoppers and visitors will be encouraged and existing provision enhanced, wherever possible. Parking provision in the centre should be in accordance with the principles in Policy T7.

Justification AL9: Car Parking

13.15 The District Centre lacks sufficient convenient ground level car parking and the Council will seek additional provision through its own actions and/or as part of development proposals.


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