The planning officers’ report: our response

The planning officers have (as usual) recommended approval of Tesco’s most recent application, for the installation of refrigeration and air conditioning plant. We think they are wrong, in planning terms, to recommend approval – in fact, we think that their report cannot be a sound basis for approval because it depends entirely on two false assumptions.

Here is a summary of two main points in our submission:

1. The planners are incorrect that deliveries, car parking, waste and other matters are not relevant to the decision

The planning officers say the impact of deliveries on road safety, congestion, car parking, and noise pollution are not relevant to this application. They also say that all the other issues objectors have identified, except those relating explicitly to the issue of the air conditioning and refrigeration plant itself, are all irrelevant. This is not correct.

As we said before, if Tesco are really serious about opening a smaller store, all the other impacts of a Tesco Express opening on this site will necessarily follow from approval of this application but would not otherwise happen (because without the plant, they can’t open). Deliveries, car parking, noise pollution, waste storage etc., are therefore “material considerations” in relation to this application. As such, they need to be considered by planners and councillors.

Deliveries, waste and other issues are as relevant to this attempt to open an Express store they were to the last attempt. Of course, because Tesco haven’t changed their delivery plans, all the reasons why the last application was refused on delivery grounds still apply.

2. Planners have ignored the fact that Tesco’s acoustic report, on which the recommendation is based, is fundamentally flawed

The report fails to address the very serious problems with the acoustic report which we raised. An acoustic consultant who looked at the report for us highlighted a number of serious flaws in the way Tesco’s acoustic consultants did their tests. We passed these on to the planners who have either dismissed them or ignored them altogether. Our acoustic consultant asked to see the detail of Tesco’s consultants’ methodology; the planners have not allowed this.

This is particularly serious because the planners say the specific issue of the air conditioning and refrigeration plant is the only relevant factor in a decision about this application. Yet their recommendation of approval is based entirely on report paid for and supplied by Tesco – a report with fundamental flaws that mean it cannot reasonably be relied on as any kind of sound basis for judgement. So, the planners are recommending approval entirely on the basis of Tesco’s own, fundamentally unreliable acoustic report, and not acknowledging, let alone investigating, the basic problems that render this report an unsound basis for approving the application.

Comments are closed.