Online Petitions

Petition: Oppose Tesco's Abuse of the Planning System

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Lead petitioner Simon Stafford-Townsend
Petition target Bristol City Council
Start date Thu, 1 Jan 70
Closing date Thu, 1 Jan 70
Last signatories
  • Simon Stafford-Townsend
Signature information

We, the undersigned, oppose the building of a new Tesco on the former Jesters Comedy Club site, 140 -142 Cheltenham Road.

We note with great disappointment that Tesco has been able to gain planning permission through the most minimal public consultation possible within the letter of the law. We find this to be an affront to the spirit of that law and to the very nature of local democracy itself.

We therefore call upon Bristol City Council to:

1) take whatever action is necessary to prevent Tesco from developing this site any further until a full and wide-ranging public consultation with local residents is undertaken

2) investigate the possibility of a legal challenge to the original decision on the grounds that Tesco deliberately used deceptive tactics to make a contentious application look non-contentious

3) undertake a scrutiny review into how Officers made this decision, with particular focus on the question of whether or not they were aware of Tesco's involvement in this application

Background information

Bristol City Council have granted planning permission to allow 140 - 142 Cheltenham Road to change from a stand-up comedy club to a shop. This used to be the site of Jesters Comedy Club. Jesters was bought by Tesco after going into administration in May 2008.

By purchasing Jesters, Tesco were able to apply for planning permission in their name. As the resulting application appeared non-contentious, Officers granted planning permission under delegated authority, so the matter never came before the relevant planning committee. If it had, there would have been tremendous public appeal against the opening of a Tesco in Stokes Croft. Through a deceptive act of misdirection, Tesco have subverted the democratic process.

This has generated a great deal of anger and unrest among those who live/work in, and visit Stokes Croft, not least because of the shockingly minimal public consultation. This represents a cynical political manoeuvre; it is well known that the opening of new Tesco stores in areas such as Stokes Croft tend to be controvertial issues that generate a great deal of opposition. Considering the level of controversy, and the impact to the local area, of such a planning application, it is deeply concerning that the public consultation undertaken has stretched no further than:

- sending letters to 55 neighbouring residents

- placing one A4 notification on a nearby lampost as notification of an application for Change of Use

- publishing one line at the back of the Evening Post under Statutory Notifications

Clearly, this constitutes a public consultation within the letter of the law. However, it does not constitute *sufficient* public consultation for a planning application with this level of controversy and impact within the *spirit* of the law.

Stokes Croft is a unique and developing area that has the potential to be a hotbed of grass roots urban development. The arrival of Tesco in this area will severely damage this by driving local businesses to bankruptcy through predatory business practices. Considering the delicate state of the national and local economies, nothing could be worse for local residents than the collapse of small businesses.

This petition is *not* an opposition to the very existence of Tesco or part of an anti-capitalist agenda. It is, quite simply, a protest against the cynical practice of side-stepping local controversy and disempowering residents when it comes to issues that will be deeply impacting to them for years to come.

This Tesco will affect significantly more than 55 local residents. We therefore call upon the Council to take whatever action it can to pause the development of this site. We call for a full and wide-ranging public consultation with the local residents and businesses affected by this development. We call for our democratic right to be involved in the decisions that affect us.

Rejection reason

Duplicate e-petition.Lead petitioner contacted and asked if wish to proceed. No reply received.