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TESCO PUBLIC MEETING SET FOR MARCH 19TH

posted 31 Jan 2012, 16:18 by Westover Labour   [ updated 1 Feb 2012, 01:49 ]
Bridgwater Town Council have confirmed that Supermarket Giants Tesco, who plan to move onto the Brewery Field with a massive Superstore, have agreed to a public meeting. The Meeting will be held on Monday March 19th at 7.30 at Bridgwater Town Hall.

Westover Ward Councillor, Brian Smedley, said "The motion that was passed the Town Council came about following a request from campaigning group Bridgwater Forward who believed the Tesco consultation was not as thorough as it should have been and should be open to further public scrutiny and that Sedgemoor District Council, who authorized the deal, should also be present. The Town Hall has been made available and I would urge anyone who cares about Bridgwater to come and express their views."

In December, Westover ward Councillors Brian Smedley & Kathy Pearce, met with Tesco's consultants and put a string of questions to them from residents which Tesco couldn't answer at the time. This week a reply finally came, and in the interest of openess the Questions , along with Tesco's replies, are listed (lengthily but in full) below.

Bridgwater Westover ward members – Q&A response

Highways Assessment
a. Entrance to supermarket from Mount Street direction (corresponding to the current
entrance position to Enterprise Centre): traffic flow will be reduced as cars slow their speed
to enter supermarket or are unsure of where entrance is. At busy times this will surely cause
very significant backlog?
The proposed store car park entrance is not from Mount Street. The access at Mount Street is
to the existing but smaller car park for the proposed additional, non‐food retail units.

b. A single flow lane only is indicated coming from a westerly approach to the store entrance.
There is only a small amount of road between the Angel Place pedestrian crossing to the
Clink anyway (approx 150yds) so how will this work with increased traffic flow and the
number of pedestrian trips across Mount Street? The same problem will arise approaching
from an easterly direction.
Somerset County Council highway officers will assess the impact of any additional traffic on
the network when the application is submitted. Much of the existing traffic is already on the
network but going elsewhere. Therefore it is considered that the mixed use development
being proposed will only create a small increase in traffic in the local area.

c. On leaving the undercroft car park via exit ramp at busy times store traffic turning left will
have to merge with Mount Street Traffic coming from the right. This junction is traffic light
controlled. Traffic turning right will have to wait for clearance from the right and traffic from
the left. There is a two‐lane exit ramp directionally marked left and right which might help
but the road as it stands is too narrow to fully accommodate two full lanes on each side of
the road.

d. Traffic entering the store from the Clink Bridge will have to cross over traffic in lane coming
from Mount Street. At busy times how is this achieved? The junction looks unchanged on
the plan although there is a two lane directional arrow pointing south westerly but in reality
the road isn't wide enough for two lanes in this one direction either.

e. There will be heavy traffic coming from the north across the Bascule Bridge (with 3 ton limit)
from Chilton Trinity, which is traffic light controlled and very slow. A lot of this traffic turns
right to access the town. Again, entering the store at busy times will be log jammed as the
road isn't wide enough.
The access to the store car park is controlled by traffic signals. Customers will therefore leave
under a green traffic light.

f. With no traffic access or stopping point in front of store where will disabled people enter the
store? What are the provisions for disabled drivers in the undercroft car park to access to
the store?
Disabled customers can access the store from the undercroft car park by a travelator and
two lifts accessed from the below ground car park.

g. Will there be Mother and child parking provision?
There will be 19 parent and toddler spaces provided.

h. Where is the bus stop? What routes pass Mount street to drop shoppers off to provide a
sustainable access encouraging fewer cars into the town centre?
The existing bus stops on Mount Street will remain in place and a full assessment of existing
and scope for additional services and stops will be provided in the Transport Assessment
submitted to Somerset County Council.

i. What height is the undercroft car park? Is it more than 4m as claimed?
The undercroft car park will have an overhead clearance height of 2.8m.

j. Where is the staff car park?
Tesco does not provide dedicated staff parking. Parking for staff will be in the car park along
with customers. The store will however have a Travel Plan for staff and customers so to
encourage the use of sustainable modes of transport.

k. What measures will be in place to stop the car park from becoming a racetrack if the store is
open 24/7 as any restrictions of car park opening hours are unacceptable to Tesco as per the
proposed Development Agreement? The same applies to traffic calming measures.
The trading hours for the store are not yet known.

l. Lorry ramp gradient etc. Have you any idea of the noise a 38‐ton lorry makes as it changes
down gears and applies power brakes? The lorry will stop at the lights, re‐engage, turn left
into the unloading area, change gear and mount a ramp all in the space of 75 yards or less.
Then it has to repeat this to exit. How many times a day? Do you have a realistic estimate
of the number of lorry trips per day to keep 5.750m2 of retail floor space supplied please?
There will be approximately 10‐12 heavy goods vehicle movements delivering to the store on
a daily basis.

m. As you are well aware this is a built up residential area. What would you consider an
encroachment on your peace and privacy? You must understand that residents will be
experiencing the disruption of very heavy plant activity for at least eighteen months!
Tesco will produce a Construction Management Plan, which is required to be submitted to
the Local Authority for a development of this size in a town centre.

n. What about air quality monitoring for all this extra traffic?
The development will not produce a significant increase in traffic movement overall, as the
development will divert existing traffic movements from elsewhere, as explained in Point B.

o. There will be a large increase of pedestrian traffic into Anson Way from Kendale Road,
Chilton Street and beyond. They will cross two private car parks and probably use them as a
quick access to the store.
Pedestrian movements from those streets is likely to be channelled past the canal basin and
along the new landscaped route fronting the store, which provides direct access to the store
and to the town centre without having to cross any car parks.

Excess traffic generation

The lorry loading unloading area proposed seems to be raised up above car park & undercroft in an
elevated position. We are concerned that with a steep ramp up from the road with inevitable low
gear noise along with such an elevated position will thereby elevate noise (particularly of engine and
refrigeration units) to perhaps first floor level of Anson Way and Quayside properties. We are very
concerned about noise levels given that current background noise levels are low and especially at
night.
A noise assessment will be submitted with the planning application. The assessment takes account of
all delivery noise sources (including refrigeration units and increased engine noise on the ramped
access to the service yard). The report assesses the impact of delivery events against the existing
noises in the area and strict guideline limits for noise. Noise from deliveries will be carefully
controlled with the use of a delivery management plan, which is standard practice for Tesco.

Height of building

We are told that this will be 5m (porch), 8m (eaves) 9m (ridge level). It is suggested that this will be
measured from Tesco Floor level – however, we are not clear as to what ever height that will turn
out to be. There is a suggestion that this maybe 0.5m above Brewery field which would result in a far
greater skyline than hitherto forecast. Without “before and after” ground level plans and elevation
and cross sections, it is impossible to tell. When will such plans be available? The very high structure
of the store, (if it as tall as it looks on your artist's impression and the height 11.45m as submitted in
the bid plan) could block sun from the east to the Brewery Field. In winter the field will be in part
shade and frosted on west facing side in the morning with only low sun until 10.0am. This will make
it especially dangerous for pedestrians on hard landscaping in frosty damp weather. The visual
pleasure of winter sun on grass will be diminished.
The store floor level is stated as 11.45m above ordinance Datum (AOD).
The levels stated will be above this level – hence Tesco ridge height will be 20.5m AOD. For reference
purposes:
 Northgate road surface at the road crossing to Angel Place: 10.8m AOD
 Proposed car park entrance the existing road level: 9.6m AOD
 The Anson Way footpath: 8.9m AOD
 Enterprise Centre: 10.5m AOD
 Brewery Field: fluctuating between 10.3m‐9.0m AOD
With regards to orientation, the proposed new visual route through the site runs due south. Brewery
Field will only be in shade from extremely low early morning sun and at peak the shading from the
end ‘wedge formed’ retail unit.
The positioning of the store means that it can obtain and control solar gain as the front elevation is
positioned southwesterly. High level glazing has been incorporated to maximise natural light and
solar gain on the south and northern elevations.

Energy efficiency

The idea seems to be for Solar panels, Photovoltaic and/or Solar thermal on roof. But this would
suggest there will not in reality be enough space on this roof to really deliver this. Tesco said they
have just built a “zero carbon” store in Cambridge. Why can’t the Bridgwater store also be “zero
carbon”?
The proposed Tesco Bridgwater development aspires to carbon zero by 2050, as does every other
Tesco site.
Tesco undertakes a comprehensive research and development program which from time to time
requires the construction of a trial store in order to test a whole new approach. The store is then
monitored and its performance evaluated. The areas that are found to be robust and beneficial are
incorporated in new developments, including Bridgwater, for them to benefit from this program and
to aid Tesco with meeting its target of carbon zero by 2050.
“Under the outstanding leadership of my predecessor, Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco set itself firmly on the
path to be a low‐carbon business by 2020 and a zero‐carbon business by 2050. We are on track with
our targets” ‐ Philip Clarke

Drainage

In an area noted for the former artesian wells pertaining to the original on site Brewery and
continued incidences of neighbourhood flooding, the increased run off from a 90,000 sq ft
supermarket with its car park, compared to the existing development is of real concern. There is also
the inevitable concern pertaining to excess storm water discharging into West Quay which continues
to suffer from the consequences of recent flooding and quayside wall collapse. How will Tesco
ensure their development will not lead to even more problems?
A flood risk assessment is being prepared to demonstrate that flood risk both to the site and to other
areas will be reduced following completion. This has been prepared in consultation with the
Environment Agency and will require their approval through the planning process.
The majority of the existing site is hard‐paved and currently drains to combined public sewer systems
in Northgate and Mount Street. It is likely that these sewers become overwhelmed during very heavy
rainfall which may be contributing to local flooding issues. The new store is to drain surface water
through a new surface water sewer constructed beneath The Clink that will discharge surface water
to the River Parrett.
This will be of a sufficient size to ensure all flows from the site are safely conveyed to the river to
prevent surface water runoff affecting any neighbouring property. Foul water flows will continue to
discharge to the sewers in Mount Street and Northgate to be treated by Wessex Water. Removing
the existing surface water flows from the public sewer network will reduce the strain on these, so
increase their available capacity to help reduce the risk of them flooding.
Discharging surface water to the River Parrett will not increase river flood risk because the river is in
its tidal reaches within the town. The Environment Agency has approved this arrangement.
The basement car park for the store is being designed to take account of high groundwater levels.
The basement will be a waterproof construction to prevent ingress of ground water and a pumped
drainage system will be provided to drain rainfall that enters the open part of the basement.

Plans

Tescos are still promising to email maps and initial plans but none as yet! Without “before and
after” plans including current and proposed ground levels, plus cross sections through the site and
elevations it is impossible to tell what the true position and impact of the development would be.
When will such plans be available?
Tesco will make available an overlay image indicating the current layout against the footprint of the
new store, as agreed. The detailed elevations, sections and plans will be made available at the
statutory consultation stage.

Lessons from the past

SDC are presumably haunted by the ASDA mistakes which promised re‐generation and then failed to
deliver leaving empty shops and land banked at the council and towns expense. Whilst we are sure
that Doug Bamsey and others at SDC are working very hard to get things right for the town we are
not convinced that the history of Tesco in other locales really means that they want to be the good
neighbours that their publicity claims.
The Eastover development is not considered to be as well connected to the town centre retail core as
the Northgate site, lying the other side of the River Parrett. Tesco believes that the new store will
provide greater footfall to the town centre by enhancing the town centre retail offer and by providing
car parking spaces for use by the entire town centre. The scheme will enhance the links to Angel
Place and bring an empty site back into active use.

Green space

a. We feel the store profile does not fit into the proportions of its surrounding landscape and
bears no relation to the size and scale of surrounding buildings.
The architects have given consideration to the treatment of the elevations, using different
materials to break up the facade. The scale is typical of a retail unit, and has made best use
of the levels by sinking the car park beneath without an increase in store height.

b. The claim to provide a corridor from Waterway to Town Centre is contradictory‐ the store
will totally erode the existing expansive view from the Docks Waterway to the Town Centre
& Church Spire. This was very carefully retained at the time of restoring and regenerating
the Docks. A sensitive developer was very carefully chosen and followed the Docks Design
Brief set out by Somerset County Council. From the town we would have no idea that the
docks exist as they are now blocked. In London is the Blue Ribbon strategy would encourage
any development to take waterways off the Thames into consideration at all cost.
The proposed scheme seeks to frame the views between the Canal and the town centre by
introducing built form either side of the route. We acknowledge that this is a very different
arrangement to what exists, but this would be a strong desire line and one which is
reinforced through the design of the proposed development.

c. Your Bridgwater leaflet shows: ‘the brownfield site of the proposed new Tesco store'. The
Tesco store is actually to be built, according to your plan drawing, on part green field site,
part of a site occupied by working organisations including SCC Child Services Department,
the Enterprise Centre and Workshops providing training, employment and care for some
profoundly disabled people. The proposed Retail Units, if they are built, will occupy the
brown field site. This is very misleading to the public.
The majority of development proposed relates to previously developed land. Therefore, as a
whole, the application site is considered to be a Brownfield site. In terms of the proposed
development, the majority of the proposed development will be located on previously
developed land with only a small element of the proposed foodstore encroaching on the
existing open space. The term ‘brownfield’ was used to suggest previously developed land,
and was not intended to exclusively suggest previously developed land without a current use.

d. Loss of green space: The so called hard landscaping promised as an equivalent sized
replacement for the loss of the green open space seems negligible. This is an issue with SDC
as well.
The open space, once the development is completed, will be reduced by approximately 11%,
and a scheme will be put forward to the Council that will provide enhancements to the space,
and hard landscape treatment to the central route through the site.

e. Lack of shrubs or soft landscaping at Town Centre end.
The design focuses on the retail frontage to Northgate, and therefore relates to the southern
side of the road, through high quality built form. Soft landscaping therefore does not seem
necessary.

f. Loss of beautiful cedar by the Enterprise Centre which has a TPO.
The layout has been carefully designed to retain a number of the TPO trees on the site, but
unfortunately this tree is required to be removed to allow development of the site.

g. What kinds of trees are being planted around the perimeter of the Brewery Field and what
height at full growth? What trees in the central part and are these deciduous?
As part of the redevelopment of the site, consideration is being given to the open space and
its treatment. Any tree planting will be discussed with the Councils tree officer to agree
species, and are likely to be native trees. The locations of these will consider shading of
gardens and views towards the store from houses. Four existing Lime trees are being
retained to the southern part of the space, with the play area retained and enhanced.

h. The walnut tree that you claim to be preserving is not within the land sale. It is in the garden
of the Old Court House.
Our development needs to consider all trees on and adjacent to the site to evaluate the
impact on them. The tree is offsite, and therefore has to be retained.

i. How long will the Brewery Field be closed to the public, 1‐2years?
The access through Brewery Field the site would be maintained during landscaping works.
Disruption to Brewery Field will be limited to the works required to it, rather than the time for
overall construction of the retail store and units.

j. How will the excavation of the site of undercroft car park impact on the surrounding building
structures? Earth moving, drilling and pile driving will be a constant feature for probably six
months. The area is huge some, 8.000m2 x 9m deep that's a lot of cubic metres of earth.
This is a store on stilts‐ a very major project in a very confined space.
It is for Sedgemoor District Council to satisfy itself that our proposals and technical details
are suitable and Tesco will abide by any planning conditions put in place. Whilst there are
adjacent neighbours there are no immediate residential neighbours, and it is not considered
to be confined, considering its town centre location. The length of time for construction is not
yet determined.

k. Why not buy a site that will allow Tesco to aspire to Zero Carbon by 2050.
Please see ‘Energy efficiency’.

l. The whole of the Brewery Field could be used to generate energy through putting down
ground source heat pumps in anticipation of an inevitable strain of energy resources. This
would provide necessary heat and retain the whole green area vital to absorbing CO2, which
enhances air quality in very polluted urban spaces. Tesco's arrival will increase local
emissions by 50% with massively increased traffic movement and the daily energy the store
requires to function.
The Government Energy Hierarchy requires clean, onsite energy generation to be provided in
preference to Ground Source Heat Pumps. The proposed approach for the Tesco at
Bridgwater accords with the Government requirements.
The fluctuating water table on site would create a cooling effect to Ground Source Heat
Pumps, therefore they would not be an effective form of renewable energy.

m. We have a very well used recycling facility in the existing Mount Street. This will almost
certainly cease to exist when the Tesco store is built and we would like to know that Tesco
would still provide a recycling facility on site.
A recycling facility has now been included within the Mount Street Car Park following
comments made at the public consultation events.

Demolition

Tesco’s have said “The store will be built in one year (including demolition!) and ready for opening 3
months later. 15 months total.” If this is the case then we support residents in their concern about
demolition noise throughout this process. The vibration and noise of smash and grind to gravel as
occurred with the Splash will be a great nuisance. We are also concerned at the demolition process
for the historical building on site (old workhouse) and therefore ask if this would be taken down
brick by brick but more likely we suspect it will again be a case of simply smashing it. Surely at least
these historic bricks should be saved for repair and renovation of historic Bridgwater. When they
are gone they are gone forever! You do not need to grind good bricks to dust and gravel!! We are
also very concerned at the impact of pile driving and excavation on nearby houses at Anson Way and
the adjoining Quayside Will Tesco undertake to pay for structural surveys to record the condition of
such properties beforehand and to pay for any damage caused afterwards?
Please see response J to ‘Green space’. Tesco will fully comply with any limits or conditions and will
contact all neighbours ahead of the construction phase.

Planning

We have been told that so much of this process would be down to planning and what is stipulated
thereafter. However, we are concerned at the reality of what happens once planning terms are
granted. Will they be adhered to with or without penalty? Will opening hours, lorry delivery hours
and so on simply change or be re‐negotiated? What opening and delivery hours will Tesco be
applying for? We are very concerned about the prospect of 24/7 opening and delivery hours given
the very low background noise levels at night.
Any planning permission issued would be subject to conditions which must be adhered to by Tesco.
Upon opening, Sedgemoor District Council will monitor and act upon any breach of these conditions.
Subject to the nature of any breach, the District Council has the ability to take the necessary steps to
ensure compliance, including the prospect of issuing a legal notice stopping such breaches.
Ultimately, if deemed necessary to prevent a serious breach, the District Council can issue a notice to
shut the store.
Should any changes to the original conditions be proposed at a later date, these can only be made
through the formal planning application process. Any such application would be judged on its merits
and the local authority would be able to refuse unacceptable proposals.

Cleanliness

Tesco’s have said that they would keep their area clean and try to prevent trolleys gravitating to the
docks and canal. However, this remains a concern along with further concern about takeaway
sandwiches wrappers and discarded drinks littering the areas nearby. It is arguable that any
supermarket delivers zero waste to landfill. As you very well know from WRAP supermarkets are
huge power consumers and the waste produced from the sale of plastic bottles, plastic packaging,
aluminium and tin cans and cardboard is responsible for a huge increase in the amount of waste to
landfill. Waste food can be bio‐digested and turned back into usable energy as is carried out in some
of your stores. How will this store put zero to landfill?
Tesco is well used to running public spaces and the public realm around its stores. It is in our interest
to ensure that the site is welcoming to our customers
Tesco has signed up to a number of WRAP commitments such as the Courtauld Commitment and our
technical packaging experts are working with WRAP and manufacturers on a number of initiatives to
reduce the amount of packaging food is placed in and increasing the recycled content. Tesco already
manages food waste through waste recovery, recycles all store card and plastic and encourages bags
for life along with a number of other initiatives. Tesco also plays its part in offering in‐store recycling
for electrical items such as mobile phones and batteries.

Linkage

The key benefit of Tesco’s is said to be to provide town centre linkage which will lead to regeneration.
The pedestrian route to Angel Place would be the main crossing point. However, if lots
of people do cross to the town centre then Mount Street would not move and traffic would slow to a
standstill causing log jams elsewhere. This will presumably have a knock on effect leading to more
Traffic lights by the old Glass Kiln and no proposals for roundabouts. When seen in conjunction with
EDF’s total lack of interest in a by‐pass and yet more junction tweaking this will bring traffic chaos to
the town centre which shoppers will then clearly seek to avoid rather than visit.
The phasing of pedestrian crossings will be managed to minimise delays in traffic along Mount
Street. The effect of this will be larger groups of shoppers crossing, less often, where the green man
aspect is displayed. This will ensure that the flow of traffic is maintained.

Environmental impact

Tesco states in its letter of 23rd November. “No Environmental Impact Assessment will be submitted
as Sedgemoor District Council has confirmed that this is not required”. Can you confirm who at SDC
has said that an Environmental Impact Assessment is NOT required? We are very concerned over
light pollution and noise pollution from the development. How can such factors be properly
assessed without an Environmental Impact Assessment?
Steve Atkinson (Group Manager ‐ Development) at Sedgemoor District Council has formally examined
the application under the relevant regulations and having considered the likely impacts of the
proposed development, confirmed that no Environmental Impact Assessment is required.
Notwithstanding that an EIA is not required, a noise assessment will be submitted for the local
authority’s consideration as part of the application and lighting will be dealt with by means of a
planning condition.

Jobs

a. Of the 260 promised new jobs, you announced that 1/3 are full time which amounts to some 87.
Of these full time post, how many will be filled by retail managers brought in from away and
how many will be actual new jobs for Bridgwater level employees?
Tesco, as with any retailer, will bring a small store team who have experience of processes and
systems and who can train new staff. Some of these staff will be transfers from other near stores
such as Taunton or Weston Super Mare and their posts will be back‐filled. It is common that a
number of staff wanting to transfer to a new store will come from the town where the new store
is planned. In addition some staff will transfer to the newly opened store for a period of time to
assist with training and will then return to their home stores. The overwhelming majority of all
full and part time jobs will be new jobs.

b. As to paying £7/hour as you stated it seems that a Tesco van driver receives £7.50 per hour,
checkout staff £6.64, retail assistants £6.45 and customer service assistants £6.73. These are
very comparable with your competitors. With a new store will you actually be ensuring a living
wage of £7/hour for those over 21?
Tesco pays one rate of pay, which is above the minimum wage, for all checkout, customer service
or retail assistant staff.
The current rate for all supermarket team members, negotiated with unions, is £7 per hour.
Tesco removed the under 18 pay scale in 2010.
In addition to this our staff have a number of benefits open to them. These include subsidised
staff canteen, pension, share scheme, staff discount and extended Organ donation leave.
As with all employers all these benefits are subject to an initial probation period.

Consultation

We do not accept that Tesco have consulted adequately and instead have attempted to pass off
such half‐hearted measures as the ‘ two‐day public exhibition’, ‘attendance at a Town Council
planning group’,’ the local retail initiative’, ‘political groups and ‘one to one meetings with
neighbours’ as a ‘consultation’. Will Tesco attend a public meeting as requested by the Town
Council?
Tesco has followed, and exceeded, the agreed consultation programme agreed with Sedgemoor
District Council. The public exhibition allowed residents and stakeholders to view outline plans and
share their views and was fantastically well attended. We have followed up with one to one meetings
with neighbours to discuss specific enquiries.
Tesco is open to a public meeting, once we are able to fully answer any questions presented to the
team. This will ensure that the meeting is beneficial to all parties.
This is in addition to the statutory consultation period that will follow the application being
submitted.

Retail

We are not convinced that a purported retail assessment produced by Tesco will properly examine
the impact on the town centre as a result of the proposals as Tesco have a vested interest in the
outcome. Can an independent retail impact assessment be carried out to address the concerns
raised?
DPP have been appointed by Tesco to undertake a retail assessment in support of the application
proposals despite such an assessment not being required by national or local planning policy for a
town centre site. DPP will undertake the assessment in an entirely professional manner based on
national guidance and to a well established and accepted methodology. In order to remain consistent
with the District Council's findings on retail development, which resulted in the allocation of the site
for retail development, DPP will also be basing their assessment on the Council's own retail study. As
such, notwithstanding the fact that DPP are instructed by Tesco, the document will provide an
accurate assessment of potential impact on Bridgwater Town Centre based on information prepared
by the District Council. The local authority are of course entitled to commission an independent retail
study if they so wish.
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