Public Enquiry backs Tesco

19 Jul 2008

Tesco has won the latest round in its fight for a controversial superstore and retail development in the west end of Glasgow.

The report of a public local inquiry, published yesterday, has decided in favour of the supermarket giant.

The plan is for a 6500-square-metre superstore as well as accommodation for 653 students, 220 private flats and leisure facilities on a large tract of derelict land at Beith Street, close to Partick Cross.

Opponents of the scheme claimed the proposal was too large. They also argued it would have a detrimental effect on existing shops on nearby Byres Road and Dumbarton Road, and that it was contrary to the city's development plan.

However, the inquiry reporter, John Culshaw, after considering the arguments, has issued a 23-page report in which he says the mixed-use proposal should be granted.

At the same time, the inquiry was also considering a separate application for a stand-alone Tesco superstore, which he rejected.

Campaigners have said they are stunned by the decision, and hope it can yet be halted.

Tesco still faces a hurdle to the plan as land essential for access to the residential element of the development was recently sold to Glasgow Harbour, which opposed the supermarket scheme and have plans for their own retail development at nearby South Street. Both parties submitted bids to Glasgow City Council but it is thought Tesco would need to obtain the land from Glasgow Harbour if they are to go ahead.

Sensitivities in the housing market could also affect the private residential flats, with builders reluctant to start any new developments.

The inquiry considered the effects on the environment, compatibility with the local development plan, impact on local retail and design issues.

In his decision, Mr Culshaw said: "There is no doubt that the redevelopment of this important but currently unsightly derelict site would contribute to the regeneration process.

Mr Culshaw concluded: "I do not doubt that the comparison non food goods sold at the proposed store would provide competition for some of the existing retailers, but the prevention of competition is not an aim of planning policy."

"It seems to me that the provision of additional retailing facilities within close walking distance of the town centre would have a beneficial effect on its attractiveness to shoppers, which would be likely to counteract any potential harm caused by direct competition."

Campaigners against the development were angered by the decision.

Gordon Bickerton, of Stop Tesco Owning Partick, who were represented at the inquiry, said: I am astonished. This decision is unbelievable."

Local councillor Aileen Colleran said: "I am disappointed because I felt the case against Tesco was very strong."

Reproduced with the permission of The Evening Times(Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd.


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