‘Unwelcome neighbour’ Tesco is condemned for Harpenden building work
PUBLISHED: 06:35 01 March 2014
A supermarket giant has been accused of “shocking” behaviour as builders worked through the night in a race to open a store on schedule in Harpenden.
The inconsiderate behaviour of construction workers at the new Tesco Express store, recently opened on Luton Road, has attracted criticism from neighbouring residents.
And St Albans district council has also come under fire for ignoring locals’ complaints about noise and disruption.
Tesco recently gained approval for a new shopfront and side elevations at 95-101 Luton Road and 2 Park Mount.
It was also given the green light to install an automatic telling machine and several illuminated signs, despite objections.
A Park Mount man, who did not want to be named, said: “The experience we’ve had with Tesco and the local authorities has been absolutely shocking.”
He said builders had “continued to work all through the night and we’ve had constant disruption with work continuing on weekends, including Sundays, and workers parking across our driveways.
“It has been a constant battle with the authorities to get them to take action for breach of planning approvals.”
The resident alleged Tesco’s contractors had been building in “blatant breach” of a planning permission condition in relation to hours of work.
He also asked why plant and machinery associated with air conditioning and refrigeration was installed on a flat roof at the back of the property, despite the location not yet being approved by the council.
The man accused Tesco of being an “unwelcome neighbour” which had pushed its way into the community “with manipulative tactics and total disregard for due process”.
Simon Rowberry, the council’s interim head of planning and building control, said planning enforcement officers were “monitoring developments at the site and carefully looking at the situation”.
He added: “With regard to the air conditioning unit, it is not considered expedient to take enforcement action at this stage. This is because the relocation of the plant is under consideration as part of a revised planning application.”
Mr Rowberry said residents had until March 5 to comment on the revised scheme, which will be considered at a plans north committee meeting on March 10.
A spokesman for Tesco did not address any of the issues raised by the Herts Ad on behalf of residents, but said, “we are very sorry for any inconvenience caused to local residents whilst work was taking place.”