This is my third term on the Planning Applications Committee and I have come to appreciate what a difficult job it is for all councillors' irrespective of Party. We have to work within planning laws and policies. The fact that residents may object to an application because they simply don’t like it is not a material consideration.
It is very hard for councillors to say to residents ‘sorry I would like to help but your objection in planning law is irrelevant’ that is tough because we are all aware that we have been elected to represent our constituents. In this particular case Battle councillors believed the concerns of local people were legitimate material concerns.
I risk being attacked by those who think Tesco are seeking to take over the world but frankly I believe they have been good for Battle Ward. They must engage with Chester Street residents and they must do something about Portman Road but in general they have contributed positively to the Oxford Road economy and they are, in all probability, our major local employer, which is great for the wider area. However, they have to recognise that sometimes they don’t get things quite right. This application is a case in point.
I believe the impact this development would have on the immediate locality is fraught with danger, in particular opening hours, disturbance to local residents and road safety.
For the Tesco bashers: They are my store of choice. I spend thousands of pounds in their Oxford Road store and their loyalty scheme, in my opinion, is second only to Boots. But on this occasion they are not my favourite store.
This is a good result for local people. I hope Tesco take the hint and move on.