Tesco branded a ‘ter­ri­ble neigh­bour’ in bid to grow

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - JUNCTION 10 - by Nick Cullen

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.

Van­dal­ism

“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.

What do you think? Write to: The Ed­i­tor, Ken­tish Ex­press, 3436 North Street, Ash­ford, Kent, TN24 8JR or e-mail ken­tish­expr ess@thek­m­group.co.uk

It’s a huge site and I can’t un­der­stand why they think it should be any larger

Peter Dav­i­son

Pic­ture: Dave Downey pd1171982

Park Farm Tesco where plans to ex­pand have caused huge con­tro­versy

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