A planning appeal by Tesco to build a convenience store at Commonside is currently in process.
In 2006, Friends of the Earth submitted a report accusing Tesco of “manipulating the planning system” and “leaving councillors powerless” in its plans to expand the number of stores across the UK – a corporate strategy that has sparked controversy. Apparently not satisfied with having two stores already situated within easy reach of the area, Tesco is now appealing Sheffield City Council’s decision of 8th July 2009 to reject its application to build a further convenience store at Commonside.
Statutory consultation attracted written representations from hostile locals including letters, a petition signed by nearly 1,700 people and an objection by Cllr Paul Scriven (Leader of Sheffield City Council).
Opponents’ worries included:
- Unfair competition against local retailers, potentially pushing them out of business. These include a bakery, florist, greengrocer, newsagent, off-licence, wholefoods cooperative and more.
- Money draining out of the local community and Tesco, a national chain store, not being accountable to the local community.
- Increased traffic – including large delivery vehicles – in an area where there is a five-road junction and a nearby primary school.
- Increased air pollution and heightened risk of road accidents.
- Existing pressure on local retailers from the nearby Cooperative store.
Sheffield City Council’s refusal of the application was primarily due to the residential nature of the area, noise issues and increased traffic concerns.
Tesco filed its appeal against the decision on 6th January 2010 and there is a 17th February deadline for statements and representations, to be followed by a subsequent Inquiry (no date designated yet) into evidence and proofs before a final decision is reached.
North West Sheffield News Blog contacted the planning consultancy acting as agents for Tesco to ask for reasons behind the appeal but no-one is yet available for comment (and an update will be posted here if and when …).
If this particular appeal is successful, it will clearly illustrate the nature of power imbalances between private interests and local democracy.
You can follow the appeal’s progress here. To find out more, contact the Planning Inspectorate Customer Support Line on 0117 372 6372, quoting reference APP/J4423/A/09/2119387.
(Special thanks to SAUL for alerting NWS News Blog to this story via Twitter)