PUBLISHED: 11:47 03 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 06 May 2010
SIR, -— The arguments and complaints over the proposed Tesco supermarket have been going on for months. As someone who lived in St Albans for 27 years and still goes there two or three times a week on business, I have some comments to make. Of course Tesc
SIR, -- The arguments and complaints over the proposed Tesco supermarket have been going on for months. As someone who lived in St Albans for 27 years and still goes there two or three times a week on business, I have some comments to make.
Of course Tesco are legally entitled to apply for planning permission to erect a supermarket in London Road but whatever happened to people-power? Assuming for a moment that most adults in St Albans don't want a supermarket in London Road., it should have been possible to strangle the idea at birth. What is needed is a mechanism for preventing a thoroughly bad idea growing in strength and actually reaching fruition. If a totally-unwanted building can be erected on a totally-unsuitable site, then there is something radically wrong with the system, in which case it should be fundamentally changed to something that suits the people.
The idea of a Morrisons-style set-up arriving in London Road is dreadful and makes a mockery of the concept of democracy. Sadly, democracy is just little more than a concept these days, otherwise this plan would have been scotched early on. Also, why no one has suggested a department store - which is something we do need - is a mystery to me.
The section of London Road near Alma Road is ugly and if St Albans wants to maintain its status as a proud historic city, it needs to do something drastic to smarten up this area. Supermarkets are unattractive and if sited badly, cause many problems. The place for them is out of town along with petrol stations which are equally unattractive.
To suggest that Tesco will come unstuck if they get the go-ahead because people will boycott the store is nonsense. People will use the store and it will be a goldmine. There are several reasons for this. One is that Tesco has a wider range of products than other supermarkets. Another is that their prices are very competitive. Also, after a fait accompli people will just shrug and think: "Oh, it's there now - too late to worry, might as well use it."
If you have any doubts about this, just think back when the supermarkets announced that they were going to open on Good Friday. There was anger, indignation, resentment, abuse - you name it - but today the supermarkets are crowded on Good Friday.
The expression "the 24-hour society" has been around for a long time and it strikes terror into the hearts of all sensible people who want to lead a normal life. The idea of people coming and going at all times of the day and night - especially the night - must be resisted vigorously. For people who live in towns, it's a stressful and unhealthy situation that will turn their lives upside-down. No sane person should contemplate this appalling concept. The arrival of the Tesco "village" in London Road with all the traffic, lorry deliveries and unloading will be a nightmare for everyone who lives within a mile radius.
In order to justify its position as the number one site on the Monopoly board, St Albans must avoid making any more mistakes with the sitings of supermarkets and petrol stations, otherwise it will become another dreary clone town.
Kingfisher Close, Wheathampstead.
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