Protest in store as Tesco tries again for Sheffield garage site

Nick Longworth and protesters outside the proposed location for a new Tesco Express at Parkhead
Nick Longworth and protesters outside the proposed location for a new Tesco Express at Parkhead

TESCO has run into another storm of protest after submitting a revised scheme for one of its neighbourhood stores in the south-west of Sheffield.

A petition opposing the redevelopment of the old Parkhead garage as a Tesco Express has attracted almost 900 names in the first week.

Shoppers at the Red convenience store and post office, across Ecclesall Road South, are signing up in support of the campaign – just as they did three years ago.

On that occasion, the council ruled that the shop would be too big, cause noise and other disturbance to neighbours and would cause traffic problems because of the proposed delivery and parking arrangements.

Now Tesco has come back with a revised scheme, which it says has a different layout, design and delivery arrangements.

Consultants for the supermarket giant say all the previous objections have been met.

Their report to the authority says: “We have held pre-application discussions with planning and highways officers at Sheffield City Council over a significant period of time in an attempt to agree the most sensitive issues. Those discussions have resulted in further consideration of the design and layout of the proposals over a number of months, and the design team are of the view that the issues highlighted are addressed through this submission.”

One of the changes is to create a servicing lay-by in front of the proposed store to take lorries off the main road.

In general, say Tesco’s consultants, the proposals have been “sensitively designed” and have the potential to add to the vitality and viability of the Parkhead shopping area.

Most customers would arrive on foot for “top-up” shopping, it is argued.

Twenty full and part-time jobs are envisaged.

The previous application resulted in a petition with 1,800 names, raising concerns about the impact on existing shopkeepers – it would be the seventh Tesco within a three-mile radius, said critics – and the implications for traffic on a busy 40mph arterial road.

Tesco responded last year with a consultation exercise with residents, asking for their views before a fresh application was submitted.

Now revised proposals are in front of council officers, who will draw up a report for a political decision, assessing Tesco’s updated case and taking into account local opinion.

Objectors say little has changed and are predicting a bigger protest than last time.

“We have had a huge response so far,” said Nick Longworth, manager of the convenience store and post office, which is part of the Newsplus Group.

Other petitions are being circulated in Bents Green and Silverhill, further along Ecclesall Road South.

Mr Longworth fears for the future of the business, including the post office that was opened 14 months ago by Deputy Prime Minister and local MP Nick Clegg.

He believes the question of the traffic implications – on a busy main road, near junctions – have not been resolved. Traffic has got worse, said Mr Longworth. “It is already a very busy road. We don’t see how it is going to work.”

Steve Carroll, director of Newsplus, along with Neil McCormick, said: “It has raised its ugly head again but we are getting a good response. Basically, people don’t want it.”

One objector who is lobbying the council says the store would not provide the community without anything it has not already got and adds there are already problems for vehicles turning right on to Ecclesall Road South from the convenience store next to Parkhead Avenue. “I am greatly concerned that Tesco traffic on the opposite side of the road will greatly exacerbate this problem and will lead to inevitable accidents.”

However, not everybody is against Tesco.

Georgia Millward, owner of Poseurs nail and beauty salon opposite the site, believes a Tesco Express would bring benefits and opposed the petition last time.

She said: “I think it would be a good thing and most of the clients have said so as well. It would give more options. I live on the road next to the shop and a lot of neighbours think it would be good as well.”