THERE has been a great deal of speculation surrounding the redevelopment of the prime site previously occupied by the BoJo Academy, sadly destroyed in a recent inferno. TCWDF contacted the local authority for an update and the Head of Planning, Nigel Kite-Mark, brings us up to speed:
‘Understandably, there has been a lot of interest from a number of consortiums in regard to potential development. With good road, rail and air access to the UK and beyond it was only to be expected that the council would be swamped with applications.
‘Like many local authorities across the UK, we now accept submissions electronically, however we do also request that “hard copies” are supplied at the same time. We stipulate that these should be sent in the approved format that has served the council well for many years. By insisting on well-padded brown envelopes, we can give applications the immediate attention and scrutiny that is a hallmark of this council’s planning department. In fact, we even have our own informal motto relating to this seemingly archaic stipulation: “Never a frown when the envelope’s brown”.
‘Unfortunately, several said envelopes were mistakenly overlooked as they had been sent to our old offices. I would like to take this opportunity to remind future applicants to make a note of our new address – The Poulson Wing, located in the T. Dan Smith Building in the High Street.
‘There was a groundswell of opinion in favour of the construction of a new educational establishment. However, with the recent refurbishment of the Red Wall Building at Rayner’s Lane Comprehensive, the council felt that there was sufficient capacity for school-age children and that “thinking out of the box” was required.
‘The successful application came from a consortium headed by ex-Council employee Mr Major, who residents will remember did sterling work in traffic control, before he unfortunately found himself in a contraflow of his own making, which regrettably sent him down a one-way street. Time, as they say, is a great healer and his indiscretions are now all forgotten, and it is good to see him taking an active role in local matters once again.
‘Work will shortly commence on the construction of a sizeable retail outlet which, in a nod to the site’s past illustrious history, will be called Macmillan’s Bazaar.
‘This much-needed facility will cater for all needs and house a variety of concessions – “shops in store”. This format should gain the attention of overseas retailers looking to gain a foothold in UK sales.
‘It is particularly encouraging that already we have seen interest from the Brussels-based stationer La Paperasserie, whose previous flagship store in the West End sadly closed a few years ago. We are reliably informed that they now feel the “time is right” for another push in the UK.
‘On a tastier note, the Paris-based bakery chain Patisserie Matraque, noted for their uncompromising customer service, have also booked provisional floor space – we can’t wait!
‘It is perhaps worth mentioning that the council was swayed in awarding this contract by the developer’s insistence on recruiting displaced BoJo Academy staff, many of whom have struggled to find employment outside the world of academia. I am told that there has been a terrific response to this initiative from both junior and senior teachers.
‘Ms Patel, the popular ex-domestic science teacher, has thrown her hat in the ring, expressing interest in the camping and small inflatables department, whilst the ex-Headmaster has also indicated his passion for “any suitable opening in ladies’ separates or a comfortable position in beds and bedding”. We wish them and their colleagues well in their endeavours.
‘It is also revealing that interest in Macmillan’s has spread beyond Europe. The Escape Room franchise Jacinda’s Jail from faraway New Zealand has secured a super ground-floor location. No doubt this will be a big hit with the younger generation.
‘From across the pond, Uncle Joe’s Potions & Lotions for Seniors will come as a very welcome addition to the shopping experience, and we are told that his patented “scrofula syrup” is world-class!
‘The council have requested a few items to be considered prior to construction work commencing. These include: Bat Survey, Great Crested Newt Survey, Hazel Dormice Survey, Biodiversity Study,
Environmental Impact Assessment, Site of Scientific Special Interest Certificate, Tree Survey (ancient or veteran species), Natterjack Toad Survey, Flood Risk Assessment, Water Course Assessment, Habitats Assessment Certificate and Archaeological Impact Assessment.
‘Once these trifles are out of the way it will be full steam ahead and we look forward to Macmillan’s Bazaar becoming a hub of the community.’