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Tesco store in Ore

Photoshop image of Tesco in Ore by Michael Wincott.

Tesco trumps local opposition

Despite overwhelming public opposition from the residents of Ore, Hastings Borough Council planning department has recently approved Tesco’s application to take over the Oddfellows public house, writes HOT’s Zelly Restorick.

A petition opposing the application organised by the campaign, ‘Save Ore’s Shops’, was presented to Tesco representatives, but to no avail, despite over 1,000 signatures from local residents.

Councillor Michael Wincott

Councillor Michael Wincott

Ore ward councillor, Michael Wincott, who lead the campaign, feels strongly that ‘the conversion of the pub into a Tesco Express will put a strain on already struggling local convenience shops in Ore village. It is likely to make it harder to park (Tesco are suppying no extra car parking spaces).  Many residents are worried about an increased risk to pedestrians.  I share their concerns.

‘I would much rather we had a disused ex-pub than multiple closures on the other side of the road. The huge multinational marketing budget of Tesco will squeeze the life out of existing local convenience shops and many people want to stop them.’

Following the approval of the planning application, Councillor Wincott explained to me how the planning procedure operates.

‘The planning committee is in a difficult position in the town. They can only refuse an application if there is a compelling (watertight) reason for refusal. Public opposition isn’t a substantial reason. Harm to local businesses is also a reason that cannot be used to refuse. I personally thought the traffic generation and highways safety arguments were sufficient, but the Highways Authority for the area (East Sussex County Council) submitted a report that they were not concerned about the application. This left the committee with only one course of action – to reluctantly approve it. My fellow ward councillor in Ore, Richard Street, abstained and all other members voted in favour.

‘I feel the UK planning system is flawed. Usually, I sit on the planning committee as its vice-chair – although, as I was biased on this application, I was not allowed a vote (or to even sit in the same council chamber).

‘I feel that if any pub is being changed into a store – that inevitably will generate more traffic – it should be considered in its entirety as a new application. As it stands, only the extension could be considered. The planning classes need a total overhaul, as it doesn’t give local decision makers the power to prevent inappropriate businesses operating in a crowded area.’

I asked him if there was anything local people could do now to protect their high street?

‘The only realistic action is for people to vote with their feet and continue to support the existing local shops. Once local people are employed at Tesco though, that does seem to complicate matters about what is the right thing to do. Nobody would want to put someone’s job at risk. I have mixed feelings about a boycott.’

So, Tesco PLC, the third largest retailer in the world and second largest measured by profits, continues their quest for market domination, threatening high street shops and ignoring overwhelming local opposition.

The next planning application may be coming from Aldi, who have their eye on the B&Q premises in Ore. If you object, make sure you use the law to make your voice heard.

Find out more details about Tesco’s plans via Tescopoly here.

Posted 22:43 Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013 In: Home Ground


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  1. Shirley

    The Express store wont effect it. If anything people passing will see that there is a Tesco’s and will stop, hopefully then decide to look over the road,well what is left.

    Having a mainstream retailer may help, Specially with older people who can’t go to Major shops. It’s Aldi we need to watch out for, we don’t want it taking the trade away from the Village.
    Atleast with Tesco you will have people walking around the village to get to it. Aldi on the other hand is on it’s on out of the way.

    Although it would be good if Aldi’s car park would not be tied to Aldi Shoppers only, but have it as a Village car park.

    Comment by Shirley — Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 @ 21:55

  2. dave

    well, I really can’t understand what all the fuss is about, why would Tesco cause any more trouble for the local shops than co op already does? I live in clive vale and I will be shopping at Tesco, the small shops are all shut when I finish work and if I fancy a snack in the eve or need some milk or something it will save having to drive to town for morrisons or pay the extortionate premium for the goods at co op. the other main concern raised was congestion, this isn’t caused by shoppers, this is caused by the two sets of traffic lights and the constant stream of busses. really all this is is another example of a small but vocal minority in Hastings wanting things to stay stagnant, what’s wrong with more jobs and more affordable produce?

    Comment by dave — Sunday, Nov 24, 2013 @ 17:14

  3. Richard Street

    The planning committee is not at fault here, it’s the planning system. Under the Town & Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987, pubs and shops come under the same Use Class so permission is not needed to convert a pub into a shop. Anybody could open a shop in the Oddfellows without planning permission. The only permission required was for the side extension. Had Tesco chosen to do this without the side extension the traffic and parking problems would have been much the same as with the extension so they were not sufficient grounds for refusal. I rehearsed all of these points at the meeting but a planning committee cannot refuse permission without clear planning grounds on which to do it. The problems this may well cause local traders are also not material considerations. The planning system is seriously flawed when it prevents the real concerns of the local community from being considered. CAMRA and others have tried to change this but the government is not interested.

    Comment by Richard Street — Monday, Apr 15, 2013 @ 16:37

  4. Martin Newbold

    I am thoroughly disgusted with the planning committee view to pass this Application without even conducting a full proper traffic survey of the site. Instead relying on one from Tesco which was flawed as it was based on other sites.

    I totally agree with Ore ward Councillor, Michael Wincott in his view that the planning system is flawed.

    Ore is loosing its identity and the local shops having watched the Tesco Planning Application and their petition not even submitted to the planning committee must be in fear of what they can do to protect thier lively hoods.

    Comment by Martin Newbold — Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 @ 19:10

  5. Patrick Burton

    My daughter lives in Chorlton, Manchester. Against similar opposition a Tesco was established in what had previously been a pub, but with parking so there were absolutely no grounds for planning consent being withheld. It doesn’t have noticeably affeced the local convenience stores, or the local Co-Op, which has been renovated, maybe in response to the arrival of Tesco and which seems to be thriving and with faster service.
    There are two ‘convenience’ Tescos in Southwark, London where we are connected, and again there is a thriving and growing convenience store sector, mostly run by people from ethnic minorities. Maybe Tesco and the other multiples, all of which have big plans to grow in the convenience store sector, might actually pep up and improve independents’ and the Co-Op’s offer.
    Perhaps a Sainsbury’s in the Old Town anyone!

    Comment by Patrick Burton — Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 @ 16:11

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