Sat, 29 Sept 2018
THE first stage of what could see a multi-million-pound car dealership built on the edge of Thatcham has been submitted.
Dick Lovett has submitted an environmental impact assessment screening opinion request ahead of plans being submitted to build on land off the Tull Way roundabout.
The 3.4-hectare site, on the junction of Benham Hill and Turnpike Road, could be the company’s new location for its BMW and Mini car dealership, currently trading in Hungerford.
Dick Lovett, the longest-serving official BMW dealer in the UK since 1968, said that it needs to relocate the expanding business from Hungerford as the site is “simply unable to cope with anticipated growth required by BMW and Mini”.
Plans were displayed at a public exhibition last year, where managing director of Impact Planning Services Robert Gillespie said that Dick Lovett had been searching for an expansion site since 2009.
And, after assessing 21 potential locations, the company identified the land in Thatcham, owned by a family farming trust, suitable because of its prominent position.
A year later and the company has asked West Berkshire Council whether an environmental impact assessment (EIA), which assesses and identifies positive and negative environmental effects connected with a development, is required.
The development, costing £7m-£8m, will comprise a single-storey Mini showroom, BMW showroom, workshop, car wash and valet facilities.
Documents submitted with the application say that the scoping opinion may be necessary as the showroom is more than one hectare of urban development.
The reports say that the showroom “will significantly improve the ecological and hydrological quality of the site”.
They state: “The site is not within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or a Conservation Area and is not considered to be of historical, cultural or archaeological interest.
“A Landscape and Visual Impact indicates that the proposal will produce a minor negative landscape impact.
“However, the character of the area is capable of adapting to this minor change.
“The proposed mitigation will facilitate this adaption by creating a ‘soft urban edge’.”
Two access points will be built off Turnpike Road; the first for customer traffic and the second for vehicle transporters and site deliveries.
Documents say that the main source of pollution will be air emissions from vehicles, but these are not considered to be significant. The company has argued that an EIA is not required in this case.
West Berkshire Council will determine the request and the company will then submit a full planning application.
The public exhibition last year attracted seven people, despite the company saying that 2,333 leaflets had been distributed within the local area.
Of the seven who attended, six were councillors and the last was an NWN reporter who was told about the event an hour after it started.