Stirring show of community

From: Coun Robert Murphy

Green Party

Well done to Millhouses and Carter Knowle Community Group for their work to stop the Sainsbury’s and Tesco expansions in their area. Helped by the wonderful work of the East End Quality of Life Initiative on air quality. The Planning Inspector’s comments reinforce many people’s view that supermarkets often have negative impacts on traffic levels, air quality and local business and communities.

Readers may be interested to know how Tesco fared with their applicationto massively expand their Express store by the West Street tram stop. Well, it didn’t even go to the Planning Committee because Tesco can simply take over the trading permissions given to the previous tenants, Wokmania. All they needed was approval for a new shop front, signage, ATM’s and underground plant and decisions were agreed with council officials. Nice work for a store Tesco told us was “one of our busiest Express stores outside of London.” That’s before it doubles in size.

So the council are powerless to stop this expansion in an area not designed for it. Eldon Street already cannot cope with the delivery lorries and waste crates. Planning conditions mean residents in the 160 apartments above don’t suffer unloading noise until 7.30am but noisy refrigerated vans can still park up much earlier and wait without restriction.

Sainsbury’s also have an application in for a “Local” store on the corner of Carver St and Division St. It will use the loading bays on the narrow Backfields directly under the housing association block, Cambridge Court. Like Tesco, they will simply take over the trading permission of the clothes shop currently there.

Local people and campaign groups know that taking on the supermarkets is very difficult. And the government’s proposed National Planning Policy Framework aims to relax rules and put even more power in the hands of developers. Supermarkets have the money and central government influence but no expansion for Sainsbury’s at Millhouses shows that the people can sometimes win.