Tesco branded a ‘terrible neighbour’ in bid to grow
Expansion plan provokes strong criticism from councillors
SUPERMARKET giant Tesco came under fire from councillors when proposals to expand its Park Farm store in Ashford were discussed.
At the civic centre last Wednesday night, planning committee members criticised the Park Farm store as a bad neighbour with no respect for the rights of the people living near it.
But although several of them demanded that the application be rejected, the committee eventually voted to defer its decision and carry out more consultation.
Cllr Jim Wedgebury (Con), ward member for Park Farm South, said: “Park Farm Tesco has been a terrible neighbour to local residents.
“At least 75 per cent of the rubbish on the estate is directly the result of Tesco, and trolleys are scattered all over the estate thanks to yobs removing them from the site.
“Youths successfully purchase alcohol from the site and then participate in vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
“Noise pollution is rife and the store shows a complete disregard for the community around it.”
Ashford Independent Cllr John Holland said: “I’m going to vote against this because I can’t accept that all of the human rights of the residents have been accepted and addressed. I can’t see that there’s a real need for this expansion.”
Council leader Cllr Paul Clokie (Con) and opposition Ashford Independent leader Cllr Peter Davison were united in their opposition to the application from Tesco.
Cllr Davison said: “If I understand it, the expansion is equal to about 30 per cent of the site, so we are talking about a huge development.
“Looking at Ashford as a whole, you’ve got Asda, Crooksfoot Tesco and Sainsbury’s, I can’t see a need for a larger supermarket here.
“Obviously there are very special considerations because it’s located within a housing estate and because of the disruption to the residents. They are entitled to enjoy their homes.”
Cllr Clokie said: “It’s a huge site and I can’t understand why they think it should be any larger.”
He added: “I must say that I find the monopolistic situation at Park Farm is not good.”
Cllr Jill Hutchinson (Con) said: “The more I listen tonight, the more I’m concerned about this. I keep on bringing up the human rights issue and again I believe this is not being addressed.”
A note of caution was sounded by Cllr Bob Davidson (Lib Dem), who said: “I’m quite surprised because this has been two years of officers’ consultations and we are shooting it down in half and hour.
“It will go to appeal because they’ve got the money to go up against the local authority.”
The committee voted unanimously to defer their decision on the application, so that planning officers could speak to Park Farm residents about how to proceed.
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It’s a huge site and I can’t understand why they think it should be any larger
Park Farm Tesco where plans to expand have caused huge controversy