Tesco appeal: Inspector put shopping habits under spotlight

PUBLISHED: 07:23 14 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:52 15 June 2010

A SINGLE shopper, pushing a trolley from one town centre shop to another, caught the eye of planning inspector David Nicholson when he carried out a site visit to Honiton during a planning inquiry into Tesco's bid for a new store in Ottery Moor Lane.

A SINGLE shopper, pushing a trolley from one town centre shop to another, caught the eye of planning inspector David Nicholson when he carried out a site visit to Honiton during a planning inquiry into Tesco's bid for a new store in Ottery Moor Lane.The sight was enough to convince Mr Nicholson that Tesco's claim that town centre food outlets were used mostly for 'top-up' shopping, with customers using baskets, was misleading. He felt a significant amount of main food shopping is carried out in the town centre.Explaining his reasons for turning down Tesco's appeal against East Devon District Council's decision to refuse permission for a new store, Mr Nicholson stated: "I consider that a significant amount of main food shopping might well effectively be taking place across a number of shops, a practice which might well appeal to smaller households such as the elderly and retired."There is, therefore, a strong probability that most of the town centre food stores would be affected and that some might suffer significantly from trade diversion to the proposed store."Mr Nicholson, who presided over the six-day appeal hearing, held at Knowle, Sidmouth, last November, concluded Honiton's town centre could be adversely affected by a larger Tesco store on its fringe."I find that the proposal would be likely to harm the vitality and viability of Honiton town centre," he says in his conclusion."The design would result in an unattractive building and a large car park, without an active street frontage, with a poor quality link and the unnecessary felling of existing trees."While I have found that the loss of employment land would be acceptable, I give little weight to the benefits."Tesco, which owns Rainbow's buildings in Ottery Moor Lane, told the planning inquiry that it would trade from those premises as a "fallback option", if their appeal was dismissed.Now the appeal has been dismissed, Mr Nicholson said such a move would be "unrealistic".Dan Bramwell, of Bramwell Associates, which represents Tesco in Honiton, said: "We are very disappointed."Tesco is still looking at the content of the decision and will decide what to do in due course.


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