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SALFORD PRECINCT VERSUS TESCO
 

Star date: 22nd October 2010 

INSIDE SALFORD COUNCIL PLANNING MEETING

Yesterday Salford Council's Planning Committee approved plans for a giant Tesco superstore opposite Salford Shopping City.

8000 Salford Precinct users had signed a petition to oppose the plans – but were they represented by their councillors? The Salford Star editor thinks not.

Click here for Fiddlers On The Roof…


FIDDLERS ON THE ROOF

Opinion by Stephen Kingston, Salford Star Editor

"It's the treatment of the roof" says Councillor Derek Antrobus, Salford Council's planning `lead member' "I'm not satisfied that the design of the roof is adequate…"

You what? There's this huge battle raging between Salford Shopping City and the new Tesco `monster' store, about links with the Precinct and job losses on the Precinct. And the first question the head of planning asks is whether the thing can have a prettier roof? 

Later on in the planning panel meeting the official Tory opposition leader, Karen Garrido, gets her turn…

"Yes I was going to ask about the roof too" she says…

What the hell is going on here? You've got market traders at Salford Precint worried sick about their livelihoods, and kids working in shops staring the dole in the face – and our `representatives' seem more concerned about Tesco's roof. It's unbelievable.

These are the same planning panel councillors who, a few years ago, when faced with an application for a huge glass towerblock -  with no affordable housing or reason for being - were asking about colour schemes, absolutely in awe of the well dressed architects. That glass towerblock is now a derelict dump after the company went bust.

The planning application submitted at this panel was for a huge Tesco store, stood on its own across four lanes of traffic on Pendleton Way, with no links to the Precinct apart from a couple of glorified zebra crossings.

The fear is that people will just stick their cars in Tesco car park, do their shopping in Tesco and not venture over the road to sample the delights of Salford Shopping City, which will slowly wither and its trade get even worse. It's hardly a recipe for the regeneration of Pendleton, only for increased Tesco profits. Yet none of this seemed to register in the planning meeting at all.

The smug Salford Council planning officer went through the Tesco application, flicking up on a screen bits of policy that justified the superstore's existence but strangely not the bit of the Pendleton Planning Guidance that states "Any proposals…must integrate well with the existing centre and provide good pedestrian links within the centre and to the surrounding area."

It's this that's the main bone of contention – yet all through the meeting it was kind of brushed aside by the Council officers. Councillor John Cullen did actually talk about integration, saying it would be "folly if Tesco increased jobs in the area by 600 but 400 were lost at the Precinct"…and asked "What room do we have to promote economic integration into the agreement?"

"None" said an officer "It's not in our gift – that's for elsewhere."

You what? It's there. Section 9 in the Pendleton Planning Guidance that states "Any proposals…must integrate well with the existing centre" that he didn't bother showing to the panel. Economic and physical integration are the same in this case.

It was obvious to anyone that there is no `integration' between Tesco and the Salford Shopping City – there's four lanes of traffic in between, and two car parks. A couple of pedestrian crossings aren't going to help. There is some talk by Council Leader John Merry of starting a Forum to discuss the closure of Pendleton Way. But this superstore has been planned for eight years. Why are they only now discussing the closure of Pendleton Way?

Indeed, the longer the meeting went on the more it seemed obvious that the intention was to tinker with the application a bit, rather than turn it down flat or defer the half cocked plans until someone came up with something that was workable.

They're going to put in `super crossings' and taxi ranks, and then rip them all out when the closure happens? This is madness. Even Councillor Antrobus mentioned the dilemma about "taking down the steel barriers [along Pendleton way] and putting in the super crossings at the same time as discussing the closure of Pendleton Way." He asked if there could be some flexibility in the planning agreement.

"No" said the officer "We wouldn't be able to put conditions in to close Pendleton Way."

Antrobus asked about an increased Section 106 contribution from Tesco to help pay for any future work on the road. The Section 106 contribution from Tesco for infrastructure and stuff currently stands at a paltry £250,000

"No" said the planning officer "We're comfortable with the figures"

Like, who's asking them? These planning officers are supposed to work for the Council – that's us. The people who pay their wages. Are we comfortable with the figures, which is mere pocket money to Tesco? The councillors present just accepted it.

Meanwhile Councillor Garrido also wittered something about integration and the scathing Cabe report (see here)… "I'm concerned that we put in a condition that the [Tesco] car park is used by everyone…I do think that it [Tesco] will be competing with the shopping centre although I think it will bring in extra people…although that's not a planning consideration is it?" she asked. And then shut up.

Yes it is! Section 9 in the Pendleton Planning Guidance states "Any proposals…must integrate well with the existing centre"… not destroy it!

Councillor Ray Mashiter, almost apologetically, talked about the impact on local residents of construction work during the building phase and deliveries when it's complete. The planning officer rolled his eyes and stared at Mashiter with incredulation…

Later in the meeting when councillors had come up with a 9am-9pm construction/delivery working day as a condition for planning approval, the officer actually looked over to the Tesco people in the public gallery. Looking for what? To make sure it was ok with them?

You have to ask who's running this show – Salford's planning officers or our so-called elected representatives? Or Tesco itself?

At the very beginning of the councillors' discussion Joe Kean had asked for a site visit so councillors could see for themselves the `integration' or lack of it. His request was totally ignored, until right at the end of the meeting, he asked again.

"We don't have a seconder" snapped planning chairman Alan Clague…. "Er, I second it" said Councillor Alice Smyth

A vote was taken – and only those two voted for it. Defeated. Next came the vote on the actual planning application. Ten in favour. One abstention (from Councillor Smyth). That's well over 90% of concillors on this panel who are in favour.

So do over 90% of people in Salford approve a giant Tesco superstore that's not integrated into Salford Shopping City and might lead, according to Salford Estates, to 40% job losses at the Precinct? If so, our councillors are representing us. If not - and 8000 Precinct shoppers who signed a petition suggests otherwise - they're well out of touch. But at least Tesco will have a pretty roof. So that's ok.

See the official Salford Star report on the planning meeting here…

See previous articles on Tesco v Salford Precinct starting here…

 

 

alfred beilin wrote
at 18:06:49 on 14 March 2012
if any ones here today im looking for steve leverton is he still about alf beilin
 
aferdita wrote
at 09:15:26 on 09 May 2011
i looking for a job in salford
 
Lisa Williams wrote
at 10:22:48 on 18 March 2011
As someone who has lived in Salford all her life...(33 Years).. I really am in 2 minds about this! and here are my points; Parking costs for SSC - I think that is losing the centre footfall...when you have a lack of decent shops!! Lack of decent shops - how many poundshops do they really need?..the quality of shops on SSC is really awful..cheap..cheap..cheap...security is poor..they really do let anyone on...I never feel safe... they should ban ALL who walk around the place with their Hug boots and pjamas on... it really does lower the experience of shopping... the market is dismal.. apart from the fuit and veg stall (who has been there for years).. its all 'dodgy' copies of CD's and DVDs... yobs hanging out drinking from cans and smoking pot.. thats a lovely environment to bring your kids too... That awful high rise flat in the middle of SCC with red letters telling us where the shopping centre is... really who did think of that... truly horrible to look at... For me the appeal of SSC.. is low... apart from using the bank... and maybe the small tesco...oh and the odd visit to Wilkinsons... what else is on there?? I really dont mean to sound like a snob...and maybe everyone is screaming well dont go there... BUT lets be honest.. IF Tesco could guarentee EVERY single person who works on SSC a Job... there really would be no fuss... the situation is here is very similar to Eccles Town Centre V The Trafford Centre.. ETC went downhill after the TC was built... Why because ETC was a dump.. and the good people of Eccles wanted something better... and I think this is the same... The 'decent' people of Salford will want better... those who go on SSC just for their Giro cheque... really wont care what happens.. I think aprt from the people who would lose their jobs.. SSC should really just be squashed!! it gives Salford its terrible name!
 
wrote
at 14:31:57 on 07 February 2011
take off the car prking fees then on salford precint
 
Fidelma Gallagher. wrote
at 11:12:13 on 25 October 2010
I wouldnt put anything past them Peter. Look at the strange happenings in Warrington when Tesco were told by the council that they had to contribute to a new Rugby League ground if they wanted a superstore. They now sit side by side and the ex leader of Warrington Council is now Chairman of Warrington Rugby League , yes the notorious Steven Bromhead.
 
Peter wrote
at 10:07:32 on 25 October 2010
I wonder if it's true that Tesco gives anonymous Clubcard Points to local Councillors so that they vote in favour for construction of huge Tesco Stores. Because they would not be easy to trace and would not show up in tax records etc. Just a thought ... http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-419594/Bribes-warning-councillor-given-apples-pear.html
 
Albert Spiby wrote
at 11:05:13 on 24 October 2010
I've got mixed feelings on this one. Having been in the new Tesco at Walkden I think it's far too big. I also think that Tescos are dominating the market to a worrying degree now. However, the answer is in people's own hands, it doesn't matter a toss if they build it or not. If you want Salford Shopping City to prosper then you simply keep on using it and avoid Tescos. It's not compulsory to shop there.
 
Brian Francis Kirkham wrote
at 14:23:35 on 23 October 2010
I wouldn't have a problem with the current state of things...Tesco already have a big enough store as part of the actual shopping city. Problem is, well, look around you. There are already Umpteen tesco stores scattered around Salford as part of existing schemes. The question remains then - why have Planning approved this, and further more why have the scrutineers voted 9 to 1 in favour.?..My Guess? Look at the names in your report, Cllr Antrobus is Part of the executive - and Most of those mentioned in the report have wards outside of the immediate area - beneficial for their constituencies but without any immediate ill-effect. The Conservative councillors on planning have only one agenda - keep it out of our backyard. Of Course, when Tesco decide to expand their Walkden store footprint - I'll look forward to the posts from their on here how Tesco are a 'Monster' ruining their area.
 
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