Monday, February 16, 2009

Tesco/The Friendship

Statement about the Tesco application 08/04903/F to build a car park on The Friendship pub garden which I have submitted and plan to read out at the meeting of the relevant planning committee (Development Control South and East) this Weds 18 Feb:

The applicant here is Tesco and that sets the context which determines the meaning of the application. The paper petition and my e-petition,
outline exactly why very, very large numbers of local people feel very strongly and say no to this planning application. They see the big picture and ask that the committee does this too. They know the area best and fully appreciate the detrimental effects.

With just text and a scale drawings to go by it must be very difficult for the committee to fully appreciate what the area in and around The Friendship is like now and what it would be like if Tesco’s plans come to fruition. I recommend that you visit the area before making a decision on this application.

I believe that if you visited the area you would agree with me, a current Knowle resident who lived for several years directly opposite the pub garden, that these words in the Design and Access Statement ‘…the proposal is successful in providing safe and convenient access….’ is in fact false. Cars turning into and out from the car park have no proper view if turning right due to the high wall and a highly restricted view if turning left. Additionally the car park design does not facilitate good flow in and out. Cars will be parked near the car park as well as exiting driveways. The close proximity of the proposed car park exit and entrance to the brow of Redcatch Hill and the Redcatch Rd and Friendship Rd turnings presents a significant additional hazard over the present situation.

Applicants Tesco seek to ‘…maximise the accessibility of the site through providing increased car parking…’ (Design and Access Statement). Increased parking capacity for cars means increased traffic flow on roads that are already increasingly busy. This means an increase in all that comes with more traffic, including additional: accident risk; noise; air pollution; climate change; light pollution (car lights and car park lighting); congestion, delay and stress.

Several mature trees with good biodiversity value will be removed if plans proceed and replacement trees take many years to establish. The green area will be lowered. The wildlife value of the area will decrease and can’t recover to its current level therefore. This is in opposition to the new local biodiversity policy.

Local quality of life and sustainability will decrease if this car park is built. This is in opposition to local policies aimed at creating a green city. It is in opposition to the new Climate Change Act with its tough carbon emissions target.

Update (25 Feb) - had official confirmation in writing that we have successfully persuaded the committee members defer the decision and to visit the site before deciding (visit will take place on the morning of 1 April and the planning application will be decided on that afternoon at the council house). This is good news as far as it goes. We have further work to do illustrating to the councillors on the committee just why this planning application should be refused. Tesco also have time to rethink and replan, as appropriate, between now and 1 April. You have to smile at the date this is all happening on!!