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'Hands tied' as Barbourne Tesco gets nod

Worcester Editorial 29th Jul, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

BUSINESS owners and residents have lost a long-running battle to stop a Tesco store being built in Barbourne.

Members of Worcester City Council’s planning committee gave the thumbs up to a new Tesco Express on Barbourne Road at a meeting last Thursday (July 24).

The decision ends a six year battle for traders who said they feared their businesses would be devastated if the supermarket giant was granted permission to build on the site of a former petrol station.

The committee twice refused the controversial scheme, which also includes the creation of 12 apartments, in 2008 after planning chiefs felt Tesco had failed to prove the store would not have an adverse impact on local traders.

And Coun Joy Squires, councillor for the area, pleaded with members to reject the application again as it comes just two months after plans were approved to create a Sainsbury’s Local on the same road.

“I have yet to meet anyone who has welcomed this mixed development,” she said. “It is exactly the opposite to the Sainsbury’s Local development as I have received positive comments from local people as they felt it would enhance the area and increase footfall.”

The Labour councillor also described it as a “dangerous development” as she believed pedestrians would be at risk when motorists came in and out of the car park.

“It is in a very awkward location,” Coun Squires added. “It is on a very busy Barbourne Road where there are already restrictions. You cannot turn right down Shrubbery Avenue because it was seen to be either too dangerous or would impede traffic so much that it would clog traffic back up to the city centre.

“But now we have a proposal which could act in the same way as cars will have to slow down to let traffic out.”

However, Coun Geoff Williams, chairman of the committee, said their “hands were tied” as he feared Tesco would win an appeal if they threw it out on highways grounds, while Coun David Wilkinson added: “I do sympathise with the points made by Coun Joy Squires, but if we turned this down we would almost certainly lose the appeal.

“But this is actually one of those rare schemes which delivers 40 per cent affordable housing, so from that point of view it should be welcomed.”

Simon Petar, corporate affairs manager at Tesco, said he was unsure when work would start, but he revealed the store would create up to 20 jobs once it is completed.

He added: “We are very pleased the council approved our plans and we look forward to serving both the community and our customers in due course.”

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