The No To Tesco in Stokes Croft Rally ended with a disappointing verdict yesterday as the council members voted to allow Tesco to proceed to the next stage of development of their new store on Cheltenham Road. The message was clearly received by all those who attended the meeting; ‘It may be your community, but we make the rules.’

The Stokes Croft community’s spirit may have been dampened by yesterdays’ result, but the passion, resolve and conviction of those involved with this issue will surely be strengthened by the experience.

I wonder if any of the of the council members are Common Purpose trained?

(More to follow…)


Date: Image: bristol_evening_postThursday, September 23, 2010, 07:00

CAMPAIGNERS against Tesco’s move into Cheltenham Road are calling for a judicial review after the latest set of plans for the store were approved.

More than 200 protesters packed into the Council House yesterday to oppose the supermarket’s plans for the former Jester’s Comedy Club.

Tesco already has permission to open an Express store but wanted approval for three applications – for changes to the shop front, new signs, and machinery related to the store at the back.

But a seven-month campaign by residents and thousands of objections weren’t enough to stop the supermarket getting approval for two of the three proposals, with the third only being deferred rather than refused.

The debate and public statements took three hours before councillors made a decision, to shouts of “shame” from the audience.

Council officers had recommended approval, dismissing many of the objections as not being on planning grounds because they objected on principle.

But Claire Milne, of the No to Tesco in Stokes Croft campaign, submitted a 37-page report that addressed a wide range of planning issues with the three applications.

She said: “The council’s community involvement statement says that any developer must work with the community to assess the impact.

“This site is clearly sensitive given the Stokes Croft Plan, which says care should be taken not to supplant smaller retailers with larger supermarkets. Tesco has ignored this community.”

Alban Henderson of Tesco’s planning agents GL Hearn spoke on behalf of the company. He reminded councillors that officers had recommended approval and said a number of issues raised by campaigners were not relevant to these proposals.

Committee members discussed the application for two hours and all raised concerns about the plans.

Councillor Mark Weston (Conservative, Henbury) said he was concerned about the lack of detail about the amount of noise the store would make, and felt the design of the proposed shop front was not in keeping with a more traditional look.

Officers told the committee the Stokes Croft Gateway Project, an action plan devised in 2006 to help regenerate the area, was not applicable to the application as it had no force in planning law. They also said noise issues could be addressed by conditions.

The committee voted by five to three in favour of the shop front and sign applications, subject to a number of design changes. The plant application was put off so Tesco could produce a noise report.

“It’s disgusting,” added Ms Milne. “We’ll take it to a judicial review.”