posted 24 Nov 2012, 13:37 by Westover Labour
Camden road resident Nick Gibson (left) is one of many residents who have written to SDC planning Officer Rebecca Miller to object
to Tesco's plans to build a megastore on the Northgate site (Planning Application Number: 08/12/00168 ) Here we reproduce his argument in full, 

I am sorry this is long, but so are Tesco's applications and sales pitches.   As a council Tax payer who you represent, I feel I should be allowed some time too!   

I object to the building of this store for the following reasons:-

Not suitable for a conservation area

The store is on such a vast scale (concrete, Steel and Glass) that it is not suitable for a conservation area or a town centre (town centre / green area / residential area) development in a traditional Market Town.

It is in a residential area which by its size will dwarf all local buildings, providing noise levels, 24 hours a day that the area has never experienced before.  This area is generally quiet and extremely quiet in the late hours of the night and early hours of the morning.  Privacy will be lost as shoppers and staff on vast first floor shopping and loading areas (are able to look into gardens and through neighbouring ground floor and first floor windows.     Loading bay headlights will shine into houses and flats nearby, Especially the flats above the Dock's pub, Geen house (Green house ?? on plans) and Valetta Place especially when leaving.

The store will rob natural light and sunlight to neighbouring; small buildings (homes), devaluing homes and causing Seasonal Affected Disorder, particularly to the housebound (elderly).   The light pollution at night may provide more light at night than the shadows and shading do by day.

It will be yet another shed the size of which are similar to those on / near Bristol Rd, Bridgwater.    That is where it should be or at least the old Somerfield Warehouses  at Huntworth Business Park.

All these Tesco Xtra stores around the country look the same and are to a similar monolithic glass shed, with cladding, design and add nothing unique or any architectural benefit to the area.

Built on green space

A large part of the store will be built on green space, playing field (potential playing field if grass cutting was up to standard!).   The town centre is losing green space.  Playing fields are being taken by Tesco and EDF (and doctors surgeries) and these green spaces are not been replaced!!!   There is a duty to provide green space with new developments!  This area was also probably part of the green space for the Docks / Anson way Development and should remain.    There fore, there should be a net gain of green space, not loss.   It is not a requirement for towns people to have to be driven out of town to find playing fields, sports and leisure facilities when these have, and to some extent still exist in the town today.   This can only lead to further deprivation and if not careful inner city problems of crime and anti social behaviour, obesity, social problems, mental health.  Etc.

This green area (Brewery Field and Social Services green fringes.) and trees provide habitats for wildlife and birds.  One vast area of concrete, steel and glass will destroy this.

Loads of supermarkets already

I really do not understand what benefit to the town is being provided by Tesco.   We have loads of Supermarkets already.  Sainsbury's provided a bridge, Safeways (now Morrisons) provided towards new Rugby facilities and a new Pool (NOW DEMOLISHED!).   Asda (??)    Tesco (?????).   Yet another poor deal for the town!

Traffic problems

The Traffic Problems that will be caused (assuming this store trades successfully; to capacity or near it;  as they claim) will be a nightmare when added to the EDF Hinkley transport increases.    Pollution; in the town centre and this residential area; caused by stagnant stationary traffic; will rise to inner city proportions adding to local health problems of  local children and elderly.     Noise from Traffic and 'Chavy loud exhaust' cars will race around new site as they have and do at 24 hour McDonalds.  Yes, Tesco will attract them!  Also, the drive to cash machines if the store is not open (Sunday- nights) = Noise.

The new road junctions are unsuitable and will add severely to the congestion of Mount Street, Northgate, the Clink and surrounding linked roads.    The current Northgate Junction will become Two.  Yet there is not room, a large gentle roundabout would be more suitable (I know SCC have to have lights everywhere, for some reason! ??) by taking part of the car park entrance opposite.    According to the Plans: 15 – 20 metres will exist between one (red) traffic  light junction and the next.     If UK artics are 15.5 or 16.5metres long (max) and Rigid lorries with a Trailer are 18.75m long (max) then that allows room for one large lorry and maybe (if lucky) one small car in the Traffic Light queue.

The removal of the slip road, for traffic heading to Chilton Trinity from Mount Street, will further keep more traffic behind Red Traffic Lights adding to more congestion in Mount Street and other areas.  A longer period will be required on green to remove this Traffic or to get it flowing, which will only be taken (if at all) from the time allocated to other directions (traffic backs up elsewhere).

Traffic noise, particularly at night will rise and as everything else becomes quieter. Then the noise of lorries and vans (the numbers of which are grossly underestimated. How many go to Asda, Sainsbury or Morrisons.  Scale up the answers!) drive in and out 24 hours a day.    The hauling of huge tonnages up the ramp from low speed in low, noisy gears to the (noise amplifying) first floor  level.   This noise will blight every night of Valleta Place, Geen House and the other elderly sheltered housing. As well as Chalice Mews (the 'Clews' in Tesco speak/ plans) and Anson Way.   Further noise from compactors, metal cages and trolleys and refrigeration units will boom out east across town and also other directions as the wind carries noise further.

Tesco claim there will be little more traffic as it will just come from other localities, locally in the town from other stores.     Yet they also claim the store will bring people in from a wide area (loads of them, £30millions worth! ?????)   How are they to get there if they do not drive there = Traffic!      If they do take from other stores how will this help regeneration of the town if this results in Redundancy and job losses elsewhere.   A lot of contradictions.

Sea Gulls will love this.    They like high places and will colonise Tesco roof space providing more poo from the sky!   The raised loading and delivery area will become an aerial pest feeding  platform, creating health and hygiene, nuisance and noise problems.

Net loss of jobs in the town
Jobs:   The figures quoted are not long term jobs.  The building of the store will require special knowledge (scale, size & underground parking)  for which labour will be brought from other recent projects outside the area  - Visiting contractors.  Steel workers, concrete and tanking specialists, glazing experts and water and electrical specialists.   Tried and tested, experienced (thus quick and efficient) fabricators of a standard design: Tesco: steel, concrete, glass and clad, monolithic super sized shed.

Many store employees will probably be taken on short term contracts and will remain like, casual, part- time workers for perhaps a long time.   This allows for easy removal of staff they can no longer afford when the novelty value of the store wears off.

The number of shoppers needed, to use this store, anywhere near capacity,  are not available in the Bridgwater area.   This means that this store could close in the future meaning a massive empty boarded up eye sore in the centre of our town.   Or other boarded up supermarkets attracting vandalism, anti–social behaviour, arson and crime.  The likes of Iceland, Farm Foods and a host of small shops could soon disappear from Bridgwater with the associated job losses.    Cut backs in all supermarkets as they all become less profitable will result in reduced hours or redundancy.  Increased housing benefit and unemployment costs and social problems.   Social deprivation and income decline leading to more poverty and crime and lower town centre spend.    Net gain of jobs cancelled out by net loss of jobs in the town centre as a whole over a few years.   Tesco are known nationally for over inflating their jobs forecasts.

Huge supermarkets do not regenerate Town Centres

Tesco Chief executive Phillip Clarke, says there is a move away from large stores by shoppers to local smaller stores as people do not have the money (huge spends) and high fuel costs Fuel costs are deterring shoppers travelling longer distance (and traffic jams) to these large stores.   Well, Tesco claim their store will draw people in from a wide area, but as their boss says fuel costs are preventing travel and the traffic jams that EDF (Hinkley) and this mega-store will create on roads will further prevent travel into Bridgwater.   Tesco's new policy of building small local stores (often in pubs) is because of this.   If the surrounding villages and suburbs of Bridgwater are to soon have Tesco stores in old pubs then the very shoppers that this huge store is intended to draw will be taken  for small Tesco Expresses.   North Petherton has one, expect the same in Cannington, West Huntspill, Chilton Polden and perhaps Wembdon, Durleigh, Sydenham etc..

Mary Portas has very recently opposed a planned new huge Tesco superstore on Margate seafront as it would damage the future of the old town.   Huge supermarkets do not regenerate Town Centres!

 Yours Sincerely Nick Gibson