Dick Lovett – Thatcham

Dick Lovett - Thatcham

Image Credit – NC Architects

Submission of Proposals for a new Dick Lovett car dealership at Thatcham

IPS is pleased to announce the submission of an application for a new BMW and MINI car dealership development to West Berkshire Council this week on behalf of Dick Lovett Companies Ltd. The Company has operated a family run business across south western England and Wales for the past 50 years. The dealership represents BWM, MINI, Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, Landrover and Aston Martin, for both new and used vehicles with established dealerships in Bristol, Cardiff, Bath, Tewkesbury and Swindon.

The Company currently operates within Hungerford as two separate dealerships (BMW and MINI), with the two sites being either side of the A4. Both sites are relatively constrained being approximately 0.3ha in extent. Owing to the scale of the two sites it has become necessary to park vehicles in the public highway during peak sales periods. The constrained nature of the sites also presents significant manoeuvrability difficulties for delivery vehicles. The Company has therefore sought to relocate the dealership to a more appropriately sited and comprehensively planned single new single site within the commercial franchise catchment area.

IPS has been working closely with our colleagues at NC Architects, creating a high-quality design for this “gateway” location. The site comprises a wedge-shaped greenfield site approximately 3.5ha (8.8 acre) in extent, currently within agricultural use, adjacent to the current settlement boundary of Thatcham. A high-quality landscaping scheme is proposed as part of the application, it is also intended to provide far greater scope for biodiversity than is currently associated with the arable field. The proposal seeks to locate the buildings within a ‘campus style’ form and layout arrangement with substantial peripheral planting and tree planting within the existing retained hedgerows. The proposed building will be able to accommodate all of the franchise operations on one site, including a workshop and mechanics bays, wash bays, offices and sales suite and ample vehicle storage.

The scheme was submitted following pre-application dialogue with the Planning Authority and public consultation undertaken in 2017. As a result of this advice and discussion, the Company acquired additional land in order to allow greater site area for landscaping and planting. The application is accompanied by a Site Search Assessment completed by IPS, which explains the site search criteria applied and methodology, resulting in the application to relocate the franchise to the site at Turnpike Road. This is of particular relevance as the Planning Authority does not have an up-to-date assessment of employment land needs. The IPS Assessment demonstrates that there is no other suitable better placed alternative location for the proposed development.

A Screening decision has been requested under Regulation 6 of the 2017 EIA regulations. West Berkshire Council has confirmed that No EIA is Required.

We look forward to seeing this scheme progress though the post submission stages and continuing discussion with West Berkshire Council throughout its consultation process.