Published: September 1, 2006
Town council leader says Tesco expansion decision is 'no surprise'

Peter ClaytonThe leader of Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge Town Council says the controversial government decision on Friday (September 1st) to turn down Tesco's bid to expand its store is 'not a surprise'.

In an interview with, Peter Clayton (pictured) said: "This has not come as a shock to me. I have been involved in this area for nearly 20 years and it was always the case that it should have a few small community shops, such as a post office and newsagent, and it is not government policy to provide out-of-town shopping stores of this size."

"Many years ago, there were applications from companies such as Safeway to provide supermarkets of this size and they were all refused under planning guidelines. To do a u-turn at this stage would have been a very strange stance to take and would be unfair to the previous applicants."

He added: "Clearly, times change and developments grow which one day might change the thinking of planning officials. At this moment in time the Burnham area local plan has not been changed to address this and it may be as long as another 10 years before there is a need to reassess the situation in this area."

"I am aware there is very strong local feeling towards expanding the store and I am sorry so many people will be disappointed. From experience, it would seem that when an application of this size gets to government level an inspector will normally stick to planning law rather than listen to local views."

"The refusal to allow Tesco to expand will also impact on the completion of the Frank Foley Parkway and I fear it could be some years now before we see any movement on that front. I think it is now even more important we put as much pressure on Somerset County Council to spend the money they have collected to complete this road instead of spending the money on an improved bus service that very few if any use."

"I expect the management of Tesco will also be very disappointed and I can understand their disappointment in the light of the decision to allow Asda to create a 40,000 sq ft superstore on an edge of town site in Highbridge."

"Whilst I have been involved in planning for quite some time it never ceases to amaze me that rules are rules 'sometimes' however, having said that, every application has to be looked at on its own merits and I can see that with the rapid expansion of Highbridge a good quality supermarket could be needed."

"I am aware, however, that the market site has permission for mixed use and I am surprised this site was not used instead of a more out of town position in Springfield Road."


Tesco store's expansion bid is rejected

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