Dire predictions over supermarket traffic

PUBLISHED: 11:39 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

Artist's impression of the proposed Tesco site on London Road

Artist's impression of the proposed Tesco site on London Road

RESEARCH carried out by pressure group Stop Tesco has revealed that building a new supermarket in St Albans could cause a 70 per cent increase in traffic movements in the area. Stop Tesco, which was formed to fight plans by the supermarket giant to build

RESEARCH carried out by pressure group Stop Tesco has revealed that building a new supermarket in St Albans could cause a 70 per cent increase in traffic movements in the area.

Stop Tesco, which was formed to fight plans by the supermarket giant to build a new store on the Eversheds site in London Road, are predicting more than 2,000 traffic movements per hour between 11am and 3pm on Saturdays if the store opens.

They forecast that tailbacks in London Road that already block the end of Alma Road would be significantly worse, causing gridlock in the area.

Stop Tesco volunteers spent several Saturdays counting traffic levels on London Road as well as the traffic in and out of the Sainsbury's store in Everard Close which is a similar size to the proposed Tesco store.

When added together, they found a massive increase in traffic movements which they believe would reflect the situation at Tesco, particularly as it would rely on car-based visitors because the majority of buses from the east of St Albans do not pass near the site.

Mike Dilke of Stop Tesco said: "Tesco's published plans for its new store show a total lack of awareness of the scale of traffic problems its store would bring to this part of St Albans.

"The store will gridlock the entire local area but all Tesco has suggested is a short slip lane and one controlled crossing plus some rephasing of existing traffic lights.

"We cannot see how any further improvements would alleviate the problem, given the narrow streets and Victorian street plan of the local area - there is nowhere else for traffic to go."

Tesco is believed to intend to finally submit a planning application for a 44,000 square foot supermarket on the site in the Spring after a number of delays in getting to the planning stage.

In the meantime the area around the site has deteriorated and the district council has been particularly angry about the fate of boarded-up houses in London Road which they want to see brought back into use.

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