Friday, 18 July 2008

Our Friends in the West!

Cold comfort - it's no just the Canongate. Developments developments ....ever where you look are developments. Big business rules! Funny isn't it? Glasgow gets an other giant Tescos. The M77 went ahead despite the protests from local activists and environmentalists. The Silverburn Centre was built once the M77 was completed now has Britain's biggest Tesco in Pollok. Who owns Silverburn? - Philip Green. Who is Philip Green? He's the guy who lives in Jersey (avoids British taxation) who gave Charlie Gordon (ex-leader of Glasgow Council and MSP) money for Wendy Alexander, who then had to resign for taking money for taking money from outside Britain.

Green light for TescoTown plan

Exclusive by Vivienne Nicoll

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has won its controversial fight for planning permission for a huge supermarket and hundreds of flats in Partick.

Earlier this year, a two week public inquiry was held in Glasgow into two sets of plans by the company for a site near the bottom of Byres Road.

One was for a large scale development with a 7435sq m superstore, 653 student flats, 220 private flats and leisure uses on the banks of the River Kelvin, the other was for a stand alone superstore.

DECEMBER 2005: Tesco unveils a blueprint for a superstore, 1300 student flats and 300 private apartments in Partick.

JANUARY 2006: Locals begin organising a campaign of opposition while SPT transport chiefs warn they may block the plan.

SEPTEMBER: The supermarket attempts to appease critics with a revised plan featuring a huge store and just 900 student flats.

OCTOBER: The changes fail to win people over. Over 700 objections are lodged with the city council.

APRIL 2007: Tesco triggers more anger by demolishing an historic railway station in the West End.

JUNE: The supermarket lodges a second application in case Tesco Town fails - a store in Beith Street.

OCTOBER: Opponents take their battle to the Scottish Parliament.

JUNE 26: The Evening Times revealed store chiefs had failed to buy land needed for the flats.

JULY 18: We revealed the Reporter to the public inquiry into the development backs Tesco Town.

The Evening Times has discovered the Reporter to the public inquiry has thrown out the plan for the smaller of the two developments but backed what has been dubbed the Tesco Town scheme.

The decision has shocked local councillors and campaigners who fought against the Tesco proposals on the grounds of traffic congestion and pollution.

However despite the decision to grant planning permission, it is still not clear if the store and flats will get off the ground.

Last month, the Evening Times exclusively revealed that Glasgow City Council agreed to sell a piece of land in Beith Street, which is vital if the larger development is to go-ahead, to Glasgow Harbour for £4.1million.

Without that land, it is unlikely the superstore and flats can be built.

But if an agreement can be reached with Glasgow Harbour, Tesco Town now has the official go-ahead.

Partick West councillor Aileen Colleran admitted she was stunned by the decision to grant planning permission.

She said: "I am disappointed because I felt the case against Tesco was very strong.

"The one ray of light is that the Reporter to the public inquiry has not recommended the stand alone store for planning permission.

"Tesco owns all the land for that so permission would have meant game over. This story isn't over yet because the city council agreed to sell the land in Beith Street to Glasgow Harbour.

"That means Tesco cannot go ahead unless the owners of that piece of land agree to co-operate with them on the development.

"I wasn't in favour of either of the Tesco supermarket developments because even the stand alone store was going to be big but we will now just have to wait and see what happens."

Gordon Bickerton of campaign group Stop Tesco Owning Partick (STOP) admitted he was shocked and disappointed by the Reporter's decision. He said: "I cannot believe that a government department would fly in the face of so much public feeling against this. I am astonished.

"I would have thought if anything had got the go-ahead it would have been the smaller development given the level of protest there was about the big one.

"This decision is unbelievable and I am in total shock."

Tesco corporate affairs manager, Jennifer Duncan, said: "We are pleased that the reporter has recognised the benefits associated with our mixed-use proposal.

"We would like to thank everybody who took the time to support our application."

The planned Tesco Town will be built on disused land in Partick close to the former Partick Central Auction train station site at the junction of Benalder street and Beith street, above, and the Glasgow Harbour development

Ms Duncan said the original plans for the area had been reduced considerably following extensive consultation.

The number of student rooms was cut from 1300 to 653 and the number of flats from 300to 220.

Tesco says the size of the superstore was increased to 7435sq m to allow a wide range of non-food products to be sold in the store.

The supermarket chain says studies of shopping habits show local people are travelling to stores in Govan, Anniesland and Maryhill for their weekly shop.

A statement said: "The proposed development will help to retain shoppers in Partick, benefiting the area and boosting the local economy. The new Tesco store would also create around 400 new full and part-time jobs."

Nobody from Glasgow Harbour was available to comment on the planning decision.