Concerns expressed at public inquiry

Artist's impression of the proposed store

Artist's impression of the proposed store

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A NEW Tesco superstore could force small shops to close and turn Brighton Hill into a ‘ghost town’.

Those were some of the arguments levelled at the retail giant by opponents of a proposed Tesco Extra, on The Harrow Way in Brighton Hill.

Members of the Tesco Action Group have this week outlined why Government planning inspector Ken Barton should uphold Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s decision to block the planned 63,000 sq ft store on the former Smiths Industries site.

As previously reported, a public inquiry started on February 19 after Tesco appealed against the decision by the borough council’s development control committee to refuse planning permission for the new store last July.

Speaking at the inquiry on Tuesday, Aldworth Science College headteacher Denis McCabe criticised Tesco’s proposed package of road improvements for the Brighton Hill Roundabout.

The company wants to revamp the roundabout as part of its building plans by filling in underpasses and installing a series of light-controlled crossings. Mr McCabe said this would increase the likelihood of road accidents when students travel to schools, including Aldworth in nearby Western Way.

“Young people and roads do not mix,” he said. “The risk increases if there are multiple crossings. They (children) are impatient, think they are invincible and get distracted easily. I think underpasses are safer for young people.”

Tesco barrister Christopher Katkowski QC asked Mr McCabe if the 200 new jobs planned for the store would outweigh the risk to students.

“I am more concerned about a student being injured, or worse killed, than the chance of them getting employment at the new site,” Mr McCabe said.

Tesco also came under fire from Jaybee’s convenience store owner Mark Buttress. He said his family-run shop, in Kings Furlong, would lose customers and struggle to stay in business and approval for the Tesco store would “without a doubt” force him to lay-off some of his 14 staff.

“If this Tesco was to go ahead, in the short-term we would have to make redundancies,” he said.

Giving evidence, he said shops at Kingsmill Road, Kings Road, Buckland Avenue, and Pack Lane would also struggle. He added that any adverse impact could mean the loss of services not available in supermarkets, such as Pay Point, parcel collection, and council tax payment services.

The inquiry also heard from Brighton Hill North borough councillor Carolyn Wooldridge. She said that a new Tesco would affect the “vitality and viability” of shops at the Brighton Hill centre, which are less than 700m from the proposed new Tesco.

Cllr Wooldridge said residents feared that Asda would be forced to leave, which would harm neighbouring shops.

“There are a number of other smaller shops and businesses in the Brighton Hill Centre operating at tight margins and relying on the presence of an anchor store such as Asda and the footfall it brings.” She added that before Asda, the centre was like a “ghost town”.

Bliss Close resident Tina Jordan echoed Cllr Wooldridge’s argument. “I moved to Brighton Hill in 1995. It was a very unpleasant place and quite violent.

“Now I feel quite proud to live there. People I have spoken to say they value the investment to the area Asda have put in.”

Earlier, the inquiry had heard from Asda representative Mark Underwood, who said a Tesco “could well push the centre over the edge”.

However Tesco’s Mr Katkowski said: “What Asda have made quite clear is that Tesco will not make them close.” He said that residents’ fears that Asda would leave Brighton Hill are “misplaced”.

Comments (10)

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5:57pm Sun 3 Mar 13

Pacifier says...

Good luck to tesco...it's exactly what we need here, so i dont have to go into brighton Hill Centre and their rather poor Asda...give them some competition, see if that improves their lousy service.
I am sure common sense will prevail and we will have a Tesco here at last, and an improved road system that HCC seem incapable of doing anything about!
Well done Tesco!!!!
Good luck to tesco...it's exactly what we need here, so i dont have to go into brighton Hill Centre and their rather poor Asda...give them some competition, see if that improves their lousy service. I am sure common sense will prevail and we will have a Tesco here at last, and an improved road system that HCC seem incapable of doing anything about! Well done Tesco!!!! Pacifier
  • Score: 0

1:34am Mon 4 Mar 13

BugBear says...

Pacifier wrote:
Good luck to tesco...it's exactly what we need here, so i dont have to go into brighton Hill Centre and their rather poor Asda...give them some competition, see if that improves their lousy service.
I am sure common sense will prevail and we will have a Tesco here at last, and an improved road system that HCC seem incapable of doing anything about!
Well done Tesco!!!!
Quite the contrary, I find Asda exceptionally good, with a wide selection of products of reasonable quality and value and I've never found the staff other than pleasant and cheerful. In fact to be honest I've never found any of the large stores to be anything but good value and helpful and wonder if its maybe your attitude where the problem is.
[quote][p][bold]Pacifier[/bold] wrote: Good luck to tesco...it's exactly what we need here, so i dont have to go into brighton Hill Centre and their rather poor Asda...give them some competition, see if that improves their lousy service. I am sure common sense will prevail and we will have a Tesco here at last, and an improved road system that HCC seem incapable of doing anything about! Well done Tesco!!!![/p][/quote]Quite the contrary, I find Asda exceptionally good, with a wide selection of products of reasonable quality and value and I've never found the staff other than pleasant and cheerful. In fact to be honest I've never found any of the large stores to be anything but good value and helpful and wonder if its maybe your attitude where the problem is. BugBear
  • Score: 0

1:42am Mon 4 Mar 13

Pacifier says...

Nope not me...give them some competition....custo
mers will gain...staff are slow, understaffed checkouts, unresponsive management, poor display of fresh food, poor parking, let Tesco in..if Asda is as good as you say they have nothing to fear
Nope not me...give them some competition....custo mers will gain...staff are slow, understaffed checkouts, unresponsive management, poor display of fresh food, poor parking, let Tesco in..if Asda is as good as you say they have nothing to fear Pacifier
  • Score: 0

6:29pm Mon 4 Mar 13

jools2013 says...

I'm with you BugBear, I've always found Asda staff cheerful and helpful. Yes it is a smaller supermarket and at peak times the car park can be pretty crowded, but I like the fact I can whiz round the shelves quickly.
It's not just Asda that is at risk, it is the whole Brighton Centre. Can you remember what that area was like before Ads invested in it? It was grotty. And what about Chineham Centre when the Tesco store there shuts? There is nothing that says Tesco will keep both stores open and all Tesco want is profits so they won't spend money refurbishing Chineham if they've got a shiny new store in Brighton Hill.
A few people in Brighton Hill might gain by having Tesco on their doorstep and save them travelling to Chineham, but Basingstoke will suffer.
I suppose it all depends on your perspective! Do you only care about having a Tesco on your doorstep? Or do you care about peoples job and the community as a whole?
I'd prefer to safeguard jobs in Chineham and Brighton Hill than have a massive Tesco built that we don't need.
I'm with you BugBear, I've always found Asda staff cheerful and helpful. Yes it is a smaller supermarket and at peak times the car park can be pretty crowded, but I like the fact I can whiz round the shelves quickly. It's not just Asda that is at risk, it is the whole Brighton Centre. Can you remember what that area was like before Ads invested in it? It was grotty. And what about Chineham Centre when the Tesco store there shuts? There is nothing that says Tesco will keep both stores open and all Tesco want is profits so they won't spend money refurbishing Chineham if they've got a shiny new store in Brighton Hill. A few people in Brighton Hill might gain by having Tesco on their doorstep and save them travelling to Chineham, but Basingstoke will suffer. I suppose it all depends on your perspective! Do you only care about having a Tesco on your doorstep? Or do you care about peoples job and the community as a whole? I'd prefer to safeguard jobs in Chineham and Brighton Hill than have a massive Tesco built that we don't need. jools2013
  • Score: 0

8:25pm Mon 4 Mar 13

jonone says...

Here's a thought - build the Tesco and let people choose where they want to go! Wow, radical!
Here's a thought - build the Tesco and let people choose where they want to go! Wow, radical! jonone
  • Score: 1

12:35am Tue 5 Mar 13

Pacifier says...

jonone wrote:
Here's a thought - build the Tesco and let people choose where they want to go! Wow, radical!
Absolutely right..if Asda is scared of the competition perhaps they should close up or improve their store and service...let the people of Basingstoke have a choice, this isnt just Brighton Hill, its for all in the town.
I look forward to a Tesco store nearby and the improvements to the Brighton Hill Roundabout that HCC has been totally incapable of resolving
[quote][p][bold]jonone[/bold] wrote: Here's a thought - build the Tesco and let people choose where they want to go! Wow, radical![/p][/quote]Absolutely right..if Asda is scared of the competition perhaps they should close up or improve their store and service...let the people of Basingstoke have a choice, this isnt just Brighton Hill, its for all in the town. I look forward to a Tesco store nearby and the improvements to the Brighton Hill Roundabout that HCC has been totally incapable of resolving Pacifier
  • Score: 0

5:20pm Tue 5 Mar 13

Sam_Walker123456 says...

jonone wrote:
Here's a thought - build the Tesco and let people choose where they want to go! Wow, radical!
You are right. We all have our preferences and prejudices about shops and may bypass nearer stores to get to ones we like. Tesco would not want to build unless they thought they could win enough business to make it worthwhile. I would prefer a Waitrose but the plans on the table are for a Tesco. If built it will succeed but partly at the expense of other stores. It is upto these other stores to do something to bring us back or to attract new customers.
[quote][p][bold]jonone[/bold] wrote: Here's a thought - build the Tesco and let people choose where they want to go! Wow, radical![/p][/quote]You are right. We all have our preferences and prejudices about shops and may bypass nearer stores to get to ones we like. Tesco would not want to build unless they thought they could win enough business to make it worthwhile. I would prefer a Waitrose but the plans on the table are for a Tesco. If built it will succeed but partly at the expense of other stores. It is upto these other stores to do something to bring us back or to attract new customers. Sam_Walker123456
  • Score: 0

9:07am Wed 6 Mar 13

thesquiff says...

Build the Tesco. Sort out the roundabout. People will vote with their feet.

I've only set foot in the ASDA twice - once to buy some Christmas lights, and a second time to take them back as they were faulty.

What shops are their that would suffer from Tesco. From memory there is an estate agent (not affected), Boots (hardly a powerless indepedant) a fabric shop (no competition from Tesco) and some take away food places. In what way is Tesco going to damage any of them?

It would be nice if the Gazette would report on some of the people who DO want this Tesco and get a bit of balance.
Build the Tesco. Sort out the roundabout. People will vote with their feet. I've only set foot in the ASDA twice - once to buy some Christmas lights, and a second time to take them back as they were faulty. What shops are their that would suffer from Tesco. From memory there is an estate agent (not affected), Boots (hardly a powerless indepedant) a fabric shop (no competition from Tesco) and some take away food places. In what way is Tesco going to damage any of them? It would be nice if the Gazette would report on some of the people who DO want this Tesco and get a bit of balance. thesquiff
  • Score: 0

1:32pm Thu 7 Mar 13

katsplat says...

I'm all for Tesco building a new store. I moved here from West Sussex 2 1/2 years ago and have really missed having a good sized Tesco around. The Chineham store is ok but when you are used to several large Tesco's Chineham just doesn't compare. I can't see how Tesco building a new store is going to have a huge impact on the shops at Brighton Hill. Asda is right next to the local shops at Brighton Hill and that hasn't affect them.

As for the comments made by the head teacher Mr McCabe, if the children from his school are unable to navigate crossing a road maybe he should start a road safety/awareness course at his school. They are all at an age where they should be competent enough to cross as road. I personally think under paths are more dangerous, so many people are attached in the day and at night in under paths.

Go Tesco, can't wait for you to get approval and start building :)
I'm all for Tesco building a new store. I moved here from West Sussex 2 1/2 years ago and have really missed having a good sized Tesco around. The Chineham store is ok but when you are used to several large Tesco's Chineham just doesn't compare. I can't see how Tesco building a new store is going to have a huge impact on the shops at Brighton Hill. Asda is right next to the local shops at Brighton Hill and that hasn't affect them. As for the comments made by the head teacher Mr McCabe, if the children from his school are unable to navigate crossing a road maybe he should start a road safety/awareness course at his school. They are all at an age where they should be competent enough to cross as road. I personally think under paths are more dangerous, so many people are attached in the day and at night in under paths. Go Tesco, can't wait for you to get approval and start building :) katsplat
  • Score: 0

1:39pm Mon 11 Mar 13

myaimistrue says...

Nice to see the comments in favour of Tesco. Such a shame they are so ignorant of the proposed scheme's so called road improvements.

Tesco stated that for the roundabout they have based them on their successful scheme at nearby Fareham.

They obviously forgot to pop back and ask the local Fareham people what they thought of the horrendous queues and the dramatic increase in bashes and bumps. Cyclists avoid it like the plague and pedestrians can sometimes be spotted cowering at the roadside.
The junction urgently needs curing but this proposal is a joke.
Nice to see the comments in favour of Tesco. Such a shame they are so ignorant of the proposed scheme's so called road improvements. Tesco stated that for the roundabout they have based them on their successful scheme at nearby Fareham. They obviously forgot to pop back and ask the local Fareham people what they thought of the horrendous queues and the dramatic increase in bashes and bumps. Cyclists avoid it like the plague and pedestrians can sometimes be spotted cowering at the roadside. The junction urgently needs curing but this proposal is a joke. myaimistrue
  • Score: 0

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