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Tesco's Northgate plans under fire
ANYONE wanting to have their say on controversial plans to build a supermarket in Northgate has less than 48 hours left to register comments.
So far 37 replies by interested parties have been registered online for the application by Tesco to build a 24-hour Tesco Extra on land at Northgate.
The deadline follows a meeting of Bridgwater Town Council’s Plan-ning Panel last week, which saw members vote 4-1 in favour of objecting to the proposed development.
The plans have also met opposition from some residents, who feel it will be taking away green space by encroaching on the Brewery Field and fear it could lead to traffic congestion.
Nick Gibson of action group Bridgwater Forward spoke at the meeting after staging a demonstration on the proposed site where protesters held up flags to show the scale and size of the development.
He said: “Tesco will provide jobs but their efficiencies of scale only mean more will be lost elsewhere. Money will leave town and the local economy will decline.
“I want no more blight for Bridgwater and I urge you to bite back and object to this application.”
He suggested councillors meet with Shepton Mallet and Wellington town councils to ascertain the impact of large supermarkets.
Acting chairman Cllr John Turner (Hamp ward) said: “We understand the views held by people in the area but we are advisors and will put forward any objections made to be submitted to Sedgemoor District Council.”
Cllr Ian Tucker (Bridgwater Dunwear ward) said: “Bridgwater does not want another supermarket. We are short of playing fields and leisure facilities and that is what we need in the Brewery Field.”
He added he had undertaken a survey in Shepton Mallet which has a Tesco in the centre and said: “It’s been an absolute disaster. I can’t see how I can support this application.”
Cllr Pat Morley, Fairfax Ward, said simply: “It’s too big for the site it’s proposed for and I should recommend we vote against it.”
However, Cllr David Baker (Wyndham ward) supported the plans, saying: “We could have an improved green space and a better children’s play area financed by Tesco.
“Providing there are no planning issues I will support this application. What we’ve got now is an empty space which is a carbuncle in the middle of the town.”
He also declared a personal interest as a member of his family works at a Tesco store.
Cllr Mick Lerry of Victoria ward said: “At this stage I can’t support this application on planning grounds. I don’t feel there’s been any real modelling that I can see that will support the extra impact of traffic.”
He added he feared areas such as Chilton Street and Russell Place would be overcome with traffic and that the suggested 171 cycle parking spaces had not been implemented into Tesco’s designs.
Cllr Brian Smedley (Westover ward) was not on the panel but spoke at the meeting to object to the plans, saying: “Westover will be disastrously affected by this. It will take up public recreational space without recompense in the town. It will destroy shops in the town centre and the traffic proposals will result in chaos.”
The town council will recommend to Sedgemoor District Council that the plans be rejected.
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