Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tesco plan to build on The Friendship pub garden in Knowle

Due to existing permissions Tesco dont need planning consent to set up a shop in The Friendship. Any campaign opposing them setting up in The Friendship is broader than their current planning application (see here and here) and is about the balance of shop provision in Knowle. I've been contacted by several people with an interest in the current shops in Knowle and will be meeting them in the next few days to talk things through.

Tesco dont have to apply to set up a store but have applied for planning permission to build a 12 car plus 1 disabled space car park on the pub garden (see photos), with access gained by removing part of the wall on Axbridge Rd/Redcatch Rd. The council can only judge this application, as the planning officer dealing with this case has told me, on its merit and demerits -and the Tesco application makes no mention of their plans to convert the pub into a shop!

Building a car park over the pub garden will have a visual impact, meaning loss of amenity for neighbouring residents, those regularly in the area and of course local wildlife. The pub garden is a large, pleasant green space with plenty of trees and shrubs and a lot of potential, as the photos show. It will also impact on road safety on an already increasingly busy road, as cars would be turning in and out where they currently dont. If/when the shop sets up very large delivery vehicles will impact the area (though this fact cant apparently be taken into account by the council as the current planning application can and will only be looked at as if the pub was applying!!).

I urge local people to write to the council, via case officer Jo Edwards, opposing this application quoting ref number 08/04903/F. Two notices will shortly be put up in the local area and people have 21 days to respond once the notices are on display. You can also object or comment online here.

The Bristol Evening Post covered the setting up of an e-petition today and the ensuing online debate/commenting was reasonably lively, including a few rather vociferous 'anti-vowles' comments saying I was out of touch with what locals want!! Strange then, if what online commenters said is true (!), that when I again went to the area today talking to people, everyone I spoke to felt the same as me - and the paper petition opposing a Tesco already has hundreds of local signatures and the newly launched online one already has 30!


  1. "a few rather vociferous 'anti-vowles' comments saying I was out of touch with what locals want!!"

    We're going to end up with more astroturf than living green space in the UK, then people will be feeling pretty sick when they realise that you can't eat astroturf - or do anything useful with it in fact.

    Pave paradise ....

  2. Copy of a letter of mine published in todays Bristol Evening Post:

    THE anonymous "a concerned resident"' has very little evidence to back his/her assertion in the Open On-Line of December 16 that the "vast majority" want the Friendship pub in Knowle turned into a Tesco, having spoken to just 10 neighbours.

    Due to his or her anonymity, we don't even know for sure if this person is from the area.

    On the other hand, the paper petition, available to locals in Knowle's shops, opposing Tesco's plans, has rapidly gained hundreds of signatures. The online petition, only recently launched and available for signing here: http://epetitions.bristol.gov.uk/petition.php?id=231, already has 30 signatures. Hundreds opposed, ten in favour – I'd say this is very good evidence that local people oppose the Tesco plan, though I acknowledge it will still be very hard to stop.

    Has "a concerned resident" not spoken to the local shopkeepers organising the paper petition?

    I have to say that it sounds like the anonymous resident is as interested in ranting at me and their stereotype of greens as anything else.

    I still live in Knowle, where I've lived for more than 40 years. I'm an occasional user of the Friendship and fully aware of the local situation and its problems. The best way to sort the Friendship is not to turn it into yet another Tesco, however.

    More effort to keep a properly managed pub should be made because the pub and large garden have a lot of potential. After all, the Knowle area has also lost these pubs: the Red Lion, the Talbot, the Venture Inn, the Happy Cocks, the Inns of Court.

    If a pub is not wanted or not possible, then turning the building into flats is better than a supermarket.


Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.