Campaign group Stop Tesco Owning Partick opposed proposals by Tesco since January 2007. The proposals for Beith St, in Glasgow's West End, were for a 9,950 sq m 24-hour Tesco hypermarket, with student and private accommodation. After much public opposition, Tesco submitted new, slightly scaled down plans. Campaigners believe the scale and type of development is inappropriate to the area and too big. However, in July 2008, a Public Inquiry found in favour of the Tesco store.
In September 2010 Tesco announced it was withdrawing the proposals for Beith Street. But instead announced new plans to build a store less than a mile away at Whiteinch. The change of plan came after continued and persistent local opposition as well as negotiations between Tesco and property company Peel Holdings, which owns most of the Partick site. Talks with Peel Holdings resulted in a land swap whereby Tesco gained 130 acres at the west end of the Glasgow Harbour site to build their new hypermarket, while the scrapyard at Beith Street is expected to become a new housing development.
History of the campaign
In July 2007 Tesco launched appeals to the Scottish Executive on the three planning applications it has submitted in relation to the Partick store after accusing Glasgow City Council of being too slow, which it claimed was tantamount to a refusal. The Scottish Executive has dismissed one appeal as it was outside the timescales laid down in legislation. The other two appeals are valid and at early stages.
STOP has expressed anger at Tesco's demolition of historic buildings. For further information, see STOP's leaflet, a poster produced by separate campaigners in Partick, the press release from Glasgow's Green MSP, and local press coverage. The group has also set up a petition to the Scottish Executive on retail planning in Scotland generally. Please see media coverage in the Evening Times, 2nd October 2007.
On September 11th 2007 the Glasgow Herald reported that Tesco is also in talks with developers over a new store in Glasgow Harbour, less than one mile away from the proposed Partick store.
A public inquiry into Tesco's development plan took place in April. For further information please see article in the Evening Times from 27th March 2008. In July 2008, the Public Inquiry found in favour of Tesco, angering local campaigners - see an article from The Herald, 19th July 2008 for further information.
An article in the Evening Times, 26th June 2008, reported that a large parcel of the land Tesco eneds to build the 900 flats to accompany the new store is to be sold to a rival bidder. The planned superstore could still go ahead if planning permission is granted but the overall development would be much smaller.
Material considerations against the development
There are material considerations against the development stemming from Scottish policy guidelines, the City Plan, local development plans, Key Planning Objectives for Partick/Govan, Agenda for Change for Area 2 (Partick/Govan) (City Plan, Part One: Development Strategy, pages 60-61), and the design of the proposed development and its relationship to its surroundings especially both Partick and Byres Road Town Centres. Though it is difficult to be exact on the height of the development given the poor quality of submissions, it seems to be approximately 40 m in height equating to a 15-storey building, a totally inappropriate density. Student accommodation does not address the requirement for new housing in Partick, as prescribed within the Key Planning Objectives for the area. A further problem is the safety issue raised by a proposed isolated walkway along the Kelvin, given the murder further up the Kelvin in October 2005.
Data in the Transport Impact Assessment document supports the position that there is no justification for the proposed gross floor area of the store or the proposed number of underground car parking spaces. This document wrongly assumes (on page 20) that the site “already benefits from an existing consent for a large supermarket”. All previous outline and reserved matters applications have lapsed. The reliance by the document on a sample of 4,000 sq m, makes the projected figure for vehicle trips unreliable and therefore misleading. Data used in the appendices relates to a food superstore of 6,000 – 7,757 sq m. The document also assesses the junctions around the proposed store in isolation, but their proximity suggests they operate as, and should have been considered as, one system. In peak periods traffic regularly backs up between the junctions. The large volume of traffic generated by the supermarket and 1600 residential units can only make the situation worse.
The Retail Impact Assessmentuses data that is out of date submitted with the proposal. Its conclusion that there is an existing under capacity in both comparison and convenience retail is not accepted by the residents, who feel there may well be an over capacity. The retail impact figures used are not reliable; calculations for retail impact are for individual major outlets rather than for centres as a whole. Most crucially of all, the analysis fails to consider the effects of cumulative impact, as local centres already have to cope with the impact of stores on Great Western Road ad Crow Road. Contrary to the conclusions reached by the applicant’s consultants, it is believed that the impact of the proposed development on Dumbarton Road, Byres Road, Woodlands Road and Hyndland Road is such to cause the risk of appreciable harm to these centres’ vitality and viability, especially when viewed cumulatively. What is more certain, is that smaller independent stores have closed in huge number in recent years – at a rate of 30 general grocers per month, according to a recent story in The Scotsman . Given existing consents, there could be a surplus capacity of both food and non-food retailing within the catchment area, and given current provision, the applicant’s statement does not attempt to find alternative sites for the proposed development.