|Sir Roger Gale adds his Support to Westgate Campaign|
I have been asked by the objectors, both traders and residents to speak against the application. Just to remind ourselves, the council received a petition of 2,000 signatures, expressing concerns at the potential impact on local trade, as well as sending out over five hundred letters to residents who contacted the Council with a view.
The planning committee will be giving me and Jonathan Simmonds (representing the heritage side), three minutes to present our arguments to the councillors of all parties, before reaching a decision. Presently, Thanet Council's planning department have recommended approval of the application in Station Road, based planning regulations and article TC8 of our local plan, which support the building of retailoutlets in order to offer local people greaterchoice.
Readers may recall that the Sainsbury's application in the Canterbury Road was rejected last year because of objections from Kent Highways. I had expected the same to happen to Tesco in the town of Westgate, if not based on the daily road traffic chaos that surrounds a similar Tesco Metro in Westbrook but because of its position and the absence of parking spaces.
Not only is the pavement width provision for the store inadequate in my view but the highways officers appear not to have noticed that the gaps along Roxburgh Road are a consequence of the many driveways and that parking in Station Road is frequently non-existent during peak times of the day and I will be challenging their report.
This morning, when I drove to Margate, I encountered a Tesco delivery lorry parked on the double yellow lines outside the Westbrook store and given so many independent reports of similar incidents, I have no reason to doubt that the same would not happen in Westgate and I worry that buses and emergency services vehicles may have their route into the town blocked from time to time.
|Station Rd View|
I'm still researching the finer points of the planning regulations but we must start by accepting that the name, 'Tesco' is purely incidental. The site already has planning permission for retail, offices in fact, something I gave conditional approval to the developer for several years ago and was surprised when this was changed to something entirely different not long after permission was granted.
The Council can only object to a development on planning grounds, highways included. In this case the argument against potential economic impact on local traders as a consequence of the new store opening.
If the Council were to object, then the prevalent opinion is that it would likely lose on appeal and leave us, the council tax payers, holding the costs for a legal battle with Tesco's very expensive and very sharp lawyers.
So, presently I plan to concentrate on the highways report, which I believe is weak and does not reflect the true situation in Station Road and Roxburgh Road and that the building still remains out of keeping with the heritage conservation area style of Westgate on Sea, which you can read about in Wikipedia.
|Location mid right of photo|
There is now a Facebook group you can join "Say No to Tesco in Westgate" and I would encourage readers to discuss the arguments that I might sensibly use in the three minutes available.
On other news it's good to put a face to a name or in this case, that of local Margate Labour Party activist, Amy Rutland, who caused quite a stir, for all the wrong reasons on the BBC's Question Time programme from Dover last week and had her fifteen seconds or more of fame, in front of the studio cameras and subsequently, the Daily Mail. Amy, who had to close down access to her Twitter feed after the hate campaign that followed , will, I'm sure be working hard to support young Will Scobie's campaign in Cliftonville in the coming weeks.
Finally and on a completely different subject. Adrian Square is closed while the fallen tree is cut into pieces and removed. Hopefully a new wall will be up soon. It's fortunate nobody was hurt.