Wednesday, 21 March 2012

No Tesco for Southborough

The decision of Southborough Town Coucil is to be applauded.  However, still work to be done.
From the SEAM website:

Council says NO to TESCO!

A Big Thank You to everyone who has written letters and e-mails to our Councillors saying NO to Tesco. Today (20th March 2012) Southborough Town Council issued a statement rejecting Tesco plans for building on the Ridgewaye Fields (see Southborough Town Council)
SEAM says well done to all Southborough Town Councillors for listening to the Community and saying NO. It’s the right decision as the store would have resulted in :- building on the green Ridgewaye Fields, damage to local trading and total gridlock from all the extra cars and lorries - plus the associated deterioration to air quality.
(There would not have been increased employment opportunities as some believe, as there is well documented evidence that supermarkets shut shops within a 10 mile radius with the loss of jobs.)
BUT the fight goes on – Please continue to register on the Borough Council Planning Consultation Portal. SAY – make the Ridgewaye Fields our VILLAGE GREEN and stop designating them for Primary Shopping & Retail / Mixed Development. Only then will this Green Space and Southborough asset be protected forever.

From the Town Council website:

Southborough Redevelopment – The Hub

Following an Extra Ordinary Full Council meeting held in the evening of the 15 March 2012, Southborough Town Councillors unanimously decided to withdraw the Council's support for the potential sale of land owned by Southborough Town Council to Tesco.
Councillors had long waited for draft plans, a retail issues summary and traffic impact assessment to be submitted and upon which to base their decision. Whilst there had been support for the concept of some form of development as a whole, which would have included the Southborough Town Council offices and the Royal Victoria Hall, careful and detailed consideration of the draft plans, as well as other confidential documents, revealed that the scale of the plans, albeit in draft form, would very likely have a negative impact on an already established community and shops.
As well as the potential to hurt local traders, Councillors were of the view that a store of the proposed size would, without doubt, create more traffic on a network of local roads that were already at full capacity, and particularly at peak times.
Councillors further concluded, that their vision to regenerate our Town could still be achieved, even if on a much smaller scale, and that they would work with the local community to produce a strategy that outlines our ambition's for the future and that will include an overview of what needs to happen over the next few months / years and what needs to be carried out to achieve this overall.
We recognise that there were people for and against the Council potentially selling a small piece of land to enable Tesco to build a larger supermarket in Southborough, and that such a scheme would have had brought some benefits, including providing employment opportunities and investment locally. However, now that we have had sight of the draft proposals, and therefore, were able to start to measure the impact of these, our conclusion was that our local roads would not be able to support the increased capacity that a store of the proposed size would bring and that the loss of any green open space in our Town was too higher price to pay for generations to come.
Councillors also unanimously agreed that the desire to enhance our Town centre must not be used as an excuse to back a supermarket development that would otherwise be highly likely to be ruled out for its unacceptable negative impact, and neither did we feel, that without Tesco, that we would not be able to regenerate our town to a smaller degree.

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