Thursday, 8 March 2012

Tesco Decision: 100's Left Disappointed...

Listening to the roars of applause every time speakers or councillors mentioned anything against the Tesco plan last night, you'd expect it to have sent a clear message to the planning committee on local feelings. Sadly, after hours of often intricate debate, the plan was eventually accepted by a majority of committee members though [despite spirited arguments as well as votes by some of their number against the plan]. This came as a bitter disappointment to the many 100's of local, regional and national individuals who wrote to Malvern Hills DC to object to this plan. Naturally we feel down - but we're not out and our position is now as follows:

  1. We still feel passionately this result will see the inevitable loss of one of the few remaining small country town highstreets with a butchers, bakers, fishmongers, veg shop and all the other independent stores that once thrived throughout Britain.

  2. We are not convinced that Tesco’s suggested employment scenario will benefit the town and believe that more jobs will be lost than gained locally - in line with the British Retail Consortium’s own figures.

  3. We will be taking professional advice in the next few days on the possibility of judicial review, particularly in the light of Malvern Hills change of attitude in granting permission for a larger store with even less parking provision than the Tesco plan they previously rejected.

  4. The more appropriate solution for Tenbury would have been a smaller retail solution while creating parking and sensibly and sustainably re-using the town's distinctive heritage buildings in one of the town’s key tourist sites..

  5. The decision to accept the plans has now committed us to traffic chaos around the bridge end of the town. We'd hate to be in a situation in which we'd have to say "we told you so".

  6. Tesco's own development company rep Daffyd Williams has described the development in Tenbury as a "one stop shop" in which shoppers presumably park-up, shop and drive-off laden-down with Tesco goods. We can't see how this equates with other high profile Tesco claims that "the supermarket will encourage shoppers into our highstreet food shops".

  7. We will also be asking whether the Council has achieved best value in terms of the s.106 monies when compared with similar towns, such as Southam – and whether a failure here would make the decision taken at the committee invalid were judicial review to be sought.

  8. We would like to thank all our supporters for their help – for the letters they have written, for turning up to the planning committee (in which they made their preferences abundantly clear) and for wanting to do more than allow Tenbury to become another bland and soulless high street.

Now only time will tell what happens to the heart of the town in the orchard, Tenbury Wells.

Tenbury Futures, 8th March, 2012 


  1. It will be CHAOS at the entrance of the store ,an accident waiting to happen.Cannot people see this

  2. Norman Wanstall8 March 2012 at 23:21

    A huge amount of blame has to rest on the shoulders of Councillor Grove. His never-ending droning on about obscure trivia was a complete disaster,to the extent that the Chairman had no idea what his reasons were for objecting. Councillor Penn on the other hand presented his shameful case with the usual panache. The fact that the public have so little say in the matter is an absolute disgrace, and the fact that the views of the public are totally ignored means the outcome is meaningless. I shall certainly be writing to Mr Sharp to remind him that one day the Highway Authority will be held responsible for the traffic chaos on the bridge. Norman Wanstall

  3. Impending traffic chaos, the slow demise of the town's remaining highstreet food shops and a 'semi industrial building' [Malvern DC's officer's words] adjacent to one of Tenbury's key tourism sites. These are some of the 'benefits' that Tesco's "One Stop Shop" [their description in meet notes] promise us.

  4. You state its left 100s dissappointed but theres many of hundreds that it has made happy that we are going to get a new supermarket store in the town but of cause the people that are for it never make themself heard because of being ranted and shouted at by the people who are against these development and think they know what all of the tenbury folk want

  5. It's a shame then that no-one from the town was supportive enough to talk 'for' the plan alongside Tesco's high-paid spin rep Sophie. There was someone lined-up but [he?] didn't show on the night - clearly not that important for local supporters after all then?

    As ever, money talks though and Tesco has very deep pockets. The clear opposition of many hundreds of local and regional individuals to this plan and wish to have a more blended solution on the site seems to have been paid little or no attention to on this application. Is this really local democracy in action?

    Unfortunately, it looks like the town's Old Infirmary (unless there is a review or appeal) will now be bulldozed by Tesco. A great shame and a real missed opportunity we feel. We witnessed only recently a great example of an old unused Victorian school in Shrawley north of Worcester converted to a new community centre and 'live' venue for music and local events. The walls were full of vibrant community mosaics and projects too - showing just what could be done if the community pulls together. The bulldozing of the Old Infirmary building will of course rule all of those possibilities out now on this site.

    And the biggest irony? That Tesco still aim to 'celebrate' the very building they themselves will have had bulldozed to make way for their 'semi-industrial-looking' store. The sheer hypocrisy of the glossy window graphics notion hasn't gone unnoticed by many locals..

    So in summary, Tesco's various financial 'sweeteners' swung the day after many hours of planning committee debate. Interesting too as this 'sweetener' technique is used by Tesco on many applications and has been investigated recently by the BBC's Panorama programme and others. Take West Bromwich as an example, where the Daily Mail on 25th Dec 2010, explains that Tesco offered to build a police station if the planners let them through the door.. Local Labour MP Barry Sheerman said at the time:

    ‘I cannot see the difference between this and a bribe'..

    Sadly we feel the same way about the Tesco application in Tenbury Mr Sheerman.

  6. Bl**dy tesco they think they can buy off everyone

  7. Tenbury FUTURES R.I.P

  8. no is not a bribe
    it is legal and planning gain can have some good come out of it

  9. So let's see where we are..

    1. Bitter Community Split
    Tesco have created a bitter lingering split between 'against' and 'pro' Tesco supporters with hundreds of local and regional objectors writing to Malvern Hills District Council about the plan.
    Thanks Tesco - that's a huge help to community cohesion in the town.

    2. 'Semi Industrial' Building Adjacent to Town's Tourism Hot Spot
    If the Tesco plan goes ahead [allowing for any appeals and/or a judicial review] then we'll be lumbered with a huge 'semi industrial building' (Malvern Hills DC's description) next to one of the town's key tourism sites and vistas.
    Thanks Tesco - that'll improve the town's tourism draw.

    3. Tesco brings Tenbury it's 'One Stop Shop'?
    Via freedom of information requests it's clear in meeting minutes between MHDC and Tesco in 2011 that Tesco regard their potential Tenbury store as a "one stop shop". This counters all the glossy spin from Tesco trying to talk-up the possibilities of the odd shopper moving from the Tesco site to shop in the town's highstreet.
    Thanks Tesco - you know how to tell us one thing one minute and keep the truth under wraps..

    So that leaves us with Tesco already having a detrimetal effect on the local community, spoiling key local tourism vistas and sites with utilitarian architectural solutions and telling the odd porky about it's punters and the town's highstreet.

    Every little hurts I guess..

  10. Norman Wanstall17 March 2012 at 14:14

    I wonder how many of those councillors at the final meeting had read all the letters from concerned members of the public sent to MHDC. The fact that only one member of the public out of a population of 3,300 was allowed to speak against (and for) the application completely blew my mind. Also the fact that the time allowed for that one speaker is normally only three minutes is unbelievable. I do wish a councillor would give us an explanation for this farce and say whether they would think it fair if they were a member of the public.