Tesco battle

SIR, —I was a volunteer for the Stop Tesco St Albans campaign in the City Centre on Saturday, April 19. Despite the cold, my fellow campaigners and I were really pleased with the positive response we got from local people to our view that Tesco s highly u

SIR, -I was a volunteer for the Stop Tesco St Albans campaign in the City Centre on Saturday, April 19. Despite the cold, my fellow campaigners and I were really pleased with the positive response we got from local people to our view that Tesco's highly unpopular application for a massive store in London Road must be stopped.

Some people did have some misconceptions about the campaign, and indeed about whether Tesco can be stopped. Can I make the following points to any of your readers who might have similar views and concerns?

1.) Tesco can be beaten. In the last six months, Tesco applications for stores in Poynton in Cheshire, Mill Road in Cambridge, Stourbridge, Inverness, Sheringham in Norfolk and Bradford have been rejected. So there's a huge chance that the company will lose here as well!

2.) Now Tesco has actually put a formal application in, even if you signed our earlier petition you now need to write to or email the council with your formal objections according to the planning rules.


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Tesco's applications are numbers 5/2008/0369 and 5/2008/0370 and can be seen online via www.stoptesco.com, or at the Civic Centre. Letters should be sent to The Head of Planning and Building Control, Civic Centre, St Peter's Street AL13JE or emailed to planning@stalbans.gov.uk

You must give your full name and address.

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TIM RANDALL,

London Road, St Albans.

SIR - After many false starts the second battle of Inkerman is about to commence. The first Battle of Inkerman occurred on November 5, 1854, following British victory at the Battle of Alma. The odds were stacked against the British and French armies of only 16,000 men and 56 guns versus the 42,000 men and 134 guns of the Russian army. However, the British and French armies were left holding the field and the Russians withdrew.

Hopefully there will be no bloodshed in the second battle for Inkerman where the might of Tesco - more than £15 billion of operating profit in the eight years they have owned the Eversheds site - versus the council and people of St Albans. The generals in the 2008 version are the local MP and councillors opposing the plans; the guns the local planning department - wielding the local plan and national planning legislation that the development is in breach of - and the troops the local residents (armed with their pens and letters/e-mails of opposition). The underdogs can win again and force Tesco to withdraw and leave the area to a more appropriate redevelopment that will benefit rather than harm the area and local community.

If you believe that a Tesco on London Road is not the place for a large superstore - the Tesco store proposal is the same size as St Albans Sainsbury's (with an even bigger car park of 490 spaces), 26 per cent larger than Morrison's and 96 per cent bigger than Waitrose; think 70 per cent more traffic on London Road would cause major traffic congestion; worry about the impact on city-centre shops; want to preserve the three locally-listed cottages on Inkerman Road that Tesco want to demolish and/or do not think this is an appropriate design in the Conservation Area gateway to our city, please let the council planning department in St Peters Street know as soon as possible. Quote reference 5/2008/0370 either in writing, e-mail planning@stalbans.gov.uk (giving your full address) or directly from the council planning website.

Remember every little bit of opposition helps.

IAN LANGFORD,

Orient Close, St Albans.

SIR, - I am writing on the subject of the planning application made by Tesco to build a supermarket on the old Evershed site in London Road, St Albans. As a local resident, I feel very strongly against this proposal and cannot believe that more local people are not working to prevent the proposed supermarket going ahead.

The character of our fabulous historic city will be further eroded if the supermarket goes ahead, and it will lead to a demise of the shops in the town and St Peter's Street. It will be a real threat to the future of St Albans city centre, not to mention the traffic chaos it will cause. Already traffic in St Albans and this area is an issue and a supermarket in this location will make entering and leaving St Albans impossible, leading to a decline in the city overall.

The district council and our MP should be pushing for the site to be used for much-needed housing in St Albans, and I understand planning permission was previously granted for housing. Teachers, and other key workers critical to the infrastructure of St Albans, find it hard to afford to live in the area. This land could be put to much better use than another supermarket. We already have plenty.

I love living in central St Albans and have done for the past 12 years. However I feel that a development like this would alter the character of the area so substantially, I would move away from the area.

Tesco have owned this land for a long time and have allowed it to fall into a state of dereliction so that they can promote this development as "rejuvenation". The city centre is well served by shops and supermarkets and does not require a further store of this size. We should be working to protect the heritage and soul of the city against the big commercial entities such as Tesco.

I hope that before it is too late more people will wake up and realise what this really means before it is too late.

V. WING,

Old London Road, St Albans.

SIR, - Having already voted an overwhelming "no" on your website poll recently, I just wanted to emphasise my objections to the proposed new Tesco store on the former Evershed's site in London Road, St Albans.

I have already written to the head of planning and building control for the St Albans district, but feel the need to repeat my concerns to your newspaper directly, in the hope that the council will take notice of the majority of St Albans residents and dismiss Tesco's planning application forthwith.

The main objections I have to Tesco's proposals are as follows:

1.) Traffic in the London Road area is already very bad. This proposal will make it much worse, with 70 per cent more lorries and cars on London Road. Air quality would be adversely affected - nitrogen oxide levels already exceed EU limits.

2.) A supermarket would drain trade and vitality from our main St Peter's Street shopping area, and be a real threat to the city centre and our historic 1,000-year-old market. Eighty-three per cent of local businesses oppose Tesco.

3.) It would have a damaging and irreversible effect on the character and tranquillity of a unique group of Victorian residential streets in the Conservation Area. Some houses are to be demolished. More than 5,500 local people have signed a petition against the development.

4.) Once on site, Tesco may apply for extended opening hours - or, as in Hertford, to double the size of its building. It has to be stopped now.

5.) The Evershed's site was once given planning permission for housing - there are much better uses for this site which can truly revitalise the area and add to St Albans economic and social development, including a much-needed primary school. The area is one of the last big development areas left; the opportunity could be lost forever.

JOHN BAILEY,

Sandridge Road, St Albans.

SIR, - I wish to register my strong objection to the proposed Tesco supermarket in St Albans.

My objection is based on the adverse traffic implications for this site. I live in a short but very busy road - Watsons Walk - in which the traffic queuing at the London Road traffic signals never clears during the rush hours, the school run and all day on Saturdays. The pressure at the junction is so acute that a red-light safety camera has had to be installed within the last couple of years. At the same times, the queues of traffic coming into and out of St Albans along London Road are equally slow-moving. A large supermarket a few hundred yards away in London Road can only make the traffic around here so very much worse.

The proposed supermarket on the Eversheds site is entirely in the wrong place. It is neither one thing nor another. It is neither in the city centre and accessible on foot by customers who have arrived by bus or who have parked in one of the existing main municipal car-parks or who have walked into the shopping centre. These are the people who patronise the long-standing Tesco Metro in St Peter's Street, which Tesco presumably at one time thought was the ideal location in St Albans for their shop. Nor is it in a retail park on the outskirts of the city centre which would be much easier to access by car without causing serious traffic congestion. A good example of this is the Sainsbury's supermarket in Everard Close.

Why do we need another Tesco supermarket in St Albans? If the Metro is not large enough, there is a huge 24-hour Tesco Extra in Hatfield. It suited Tesco to argue to the Competition Commission last year - as reported in The Independent Business News, April 2, 2007, page 41 and April 3, 2007, page 38 - that a "local" shopping area should be defined as one that could be accessed by car within a 30-minute trip. Their Hatfield hypermarket is easily reached within this time from central St Albans, even at busy times. Ergo: we don't need a larger Tesco in St Albans.

ALISON REDCASTLE

Watsons Walk, St Albans.

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