'Tesco town’ opponents to petition Tony Blair ~ Tesco-Complaint

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

'Tesco town’ opponents to petition Tony Blair

GLASGOW EVENING TIMES REPORTS THAT OPPONENTS of the planned Tesco development in Glasgow's West End are calling on Prime Minister Tony Blair to stop the project. Campaigner Andy Watson insists the supermarket firm's proposals for Partick are "wholly inappropriate" and has started a petition online. Mr Watson, who lives in Partick, said he was prompted to approach Mr Blair after Tesco demolished the disused historic former railway station building on the site.

Tesco's plans for a supermarket, flats, houses and car park near the foot of Byres Road, which have been branded Tesco town', caused an outcry when they were lodged last year. Another petition calling on the Scottish Executive to intervene has already been launched.

Mr Watson said he decided to go straight to Mr Blair because he wanted Partick to keep its mix of independent retailers and corner shops. The 28-year-old web developer, of Caird Drive, said: "I had written a letter of complaint to the city council, but I was wondering what else I could do. "I heard about an online petition to the Prime Minister to stop the fuel tax and I thought that was the best way to do it. "It shows the strength of feeling about the plans and it is easy for people to register their protest."

Mr Watson's petition, which will be sent through the internet to 10 Downing Street, states: "We petition the Prime Minister to stop Tesco building a wholly inappropriate 9950sq m 24-hour hypermarket in Partick, risking Glasgow's independent retailers, markets and wildlife.

"Demolishing Partick Central ticket office was gratuitous; an application was under way to list this building." Mr Watson said Glasgow City Council had a financial interest in the proposal because it part-owned the site. He also quoted Scottish Executive planning guidelines that said: "Designs that fail to integrate developments with surroundings and fail to create links with surrounding urban fabric should be refused planning permission."

Mr Watson also said a transport impact survey agreed with the claim a store of that size was unjustified. And he claimed the development would have a big impact on the viability of businesses in Dumbarton Road, Byres Road, Woodlands Road and Hyndland Road.

A campaign group - Stop Tesco Owning Partick - has been set up to coordinate the opposition. It has its own petition, which has more than 200 signatories, and is to be submitted to the Executive. The group is holding a public meeting in Partick Burgh Hall on April 16 and is to invite officials from the council and a representative from a traders' association to address it.

Tesco's planning application has been submitted to the council, but no date has been set for it to be heard. The address for anyone wanting to join the e-petition is: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/STOP-TESCO/