Shopping reality

PUBLISHED: 12:03 26 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 06 May 2010

SIR, — Why should any resident of London Colney take part in a debate about whether Tesco should build a large store in St Albans? Well, a similar project some years ago resulted in the construction of Colney Fields Retail Park, adjacent to the M25 motorw

SIR, - Why should any resident of London Colney take part in a debate about whether Tesco should build a large store in St Albans?

Well, a similar project some years ago resulted in the construction of Colney Fields Retail Park, adjacent to the M25 motorway, and Sainbury's Savacentre was generally welcomed as a useful local benefit.

But it wasn't long before problems arose, mainly due to the influx of delivery vehicles and the invasion of shoppers' cars from miles around. The site became the unofficial service station for Junction 22 of the M25, with noisy warehouses serviced by queues of lorries entering residential areas at all hours.

A new HGV access from the bypass eased the pressure but the expansion of the site to accommodate M&S - and five other large stores - created a parking problem as well as traffic congestion on the approach roads.

So we now have all-day shopping including Sundays, 24/7 facilities for motorway users and a busy flow of traffic along our village roads. Local shops have suffered loss of trade too and trolleys find their way into every corner, while proprietary plastic bags flap in the wind across the countryside and till receipts decorate the hedgerows or clog the streams. Popularity implies pollution it seems.

At least we can walk to these stores along grassy footpaths if we wish. That's a better bet than risking a collision in the dangerous car parks at Colney Fields. Trying to discuss such matters with the management of this crowded shopping facility has proved abortive so far but customers are complaining about several aspects of safety there, with due urgency.

So the time to check on the planning implications for Tesco's proposals is now, because you do not know where they will lead in time. Experience tells us that gaining permission is just the beginning and having great (profitable) shops is not the only criterion for agreeing to such plans.

KEN PEAK,

Richardson Close, London Colney.

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