Tesco on Stokes Croft halted

Will Tesco open on Stokes Croft?

No. Tesco does not have the planning permission it needs to open the 39th Tesco store in Bristol. (39th? O yes. Please see Tesco’s own store locator).

Here’s how:

Following the planning meeting on the 22 September, Tesco has to modify its shop front before Bristol City Council planning committee will give permission for it.

More significantly, the council did not approve Tesco’s application for “external works and installation of plant and machinery”.

The planning committee asked instead for a noise assessment.

Currently the plant Tesco would need to use to run the store would be far too noisy.

You may well ask why this was not done beforehand.

Our own campaigners managed to get an acoustic report done, included in its 37-page report (which by the way the planners advised the councillors not to read in depth as the planners insisted that all our points – including about noise and traffic – are “not material considerations” and thus irrelevant. Whaaaat?! I think we will find out in due course the planners got it very, very wrong. )

This comment from someone called Ruth at Bristol 247.com sums it up well:

“The planners gave very strict criteria for extra noise when they approved change of use for the site, and the plant Tesco want to install can’t meet it. It was concerns about this that caused councillors to delay the vote on this application. If the council doesn’t want to sign off on a breach of the condition it itself imposed less than a year ago (which would be an interesting thing to do from a legal standpoint, as some officials seem to be aware), the council can’t approve the application.”

What I would like to know: are increases of traffic also included as criteria for change-of-use?

Like all multi-nationals, Tesco exploits regulations.

O!  The wrongness of Tesco using a third party to apply for change-of-use, which hoodwinked the planning people into thinking they were giving permission for an ordinary shop.

From a traffic point-of-view there is a huge difference: an ordinary shop has to store its stock on-site, while Tesco delivers stock when needed.

Tesco’s six-a-day delivery lorries will create traffic problems on the Cheltenham Road, as Claire Milne points out.

But it is not just the food deliveries I object to: it is the Tesco marketing that promises cheapness that does not deliver and damages local communities instead.

Stokes Croft is an exciting up-and-coming area developing from the grass-roots up. People come from outside Bristol and different countries to admire its uniqueness. And this is just the beginning.

Stokes Croft is an asset to Bristol.

Let’s keep it that way.

9 responses to “Tesco on Stokes Croft halted

  1. Great news Elisabeth. A glimmer of hope. I agree entirely with your comments on the Bristol247 site and in particular ‘Stokes Croft needs development – but it would like this to be community-led not Tesco-driven’. Lets hope BCC stand firm on the strict criteria laid down in their change of use terms and conditions.


  2. Where is this community led development then….?


    • Lucy – Some examples of community-led development:

      Co-exist is a prime example – a year ago it transformed derelict 1960s offices into a thriving hub of offices/studios, with the famous Canteen on the ground floor providing live music and affordable seasonal dishes.

      Meanwhile the aforementioned Canteen is setting up a cookery school.

      The No Tesco in Stokes Croft people are developing ideas for a wholefood coop. And we also have the possibility of an affordable health spa.

      And all the last three driven – not by cash (although we need some of that) – but by authentic community spirit.


  3. Huzzah!! You guys made more of an impact than you realized!!! Great job. Tesco is going down!!


  4. Pingback: Police explain brothel toleration | BBC News

  5. You would think that Tesco would have the grace to say, hey, hundreds of people don’t want us, let’s not go there. This is what the US Navy did when it bowed out from porting its ships in San Francisco, California, in the 8os. There was a huge protest because we didn’t want nuclear armed ships in our Bay, and the Navy said, you don’t want us, so we won’t come. Simple isn’t it? Let’s make this local Tesco fight an international one, and get those fabulous speeches at the Council onto youtube. The speeches were made off the cuff and were brilliant, and will inspire other struggles like this around the world that want to preserve cultural integrity and independence. And, I have to say Elisabeth, your speech was the TOP OF THE POPS! Yeah!


  6. Elisabeth – I really struggle with the delusion that you and Claire suffer from. Will Tesco open on Cheltenham Road? Yes, of course they will. Like it or not. How could planning law possibly ever take account of the identity of the retailer? (You suggest that they hoodwinked the planners by making an application incognito…) That type of law would open the door for objections such as ‘I don’t like Mr X, I’ve heard he beats his wife’. It’s a simplistic analogy I’ll grant you, but planning law only asks for a use category to be agreed. Tesco is a retailer in exactly the same category as any fashionable organic co-op, that to a small minority of people with too much time on their hands and very loud voices, may be more suited to SC.

    More importantly, you seem to think that you’ve got them on the plant noise issue. Do you have any understanding at all about plant noise? And just what is your definition of ‘too noisy’ exactly? At old Jesters we ran air-con condensers pinned to the back wall for 13 years without a single complaint. Eventually these devices became so worn that they sounded like helicopters taking off. Not a single person ever complained because the background noise of Cheltenham Road drowned them out. (And remember, we operated until late into the night). These days, plant equipment is much quieter, and can be easily insulated to prevent sound emissions. I would be very interested to know just how Claire Milne managed to have a credible acoustic report written in the absence of any information about the nature, type and location of this plant. What assumptions did she make again? Were they based on her belief that because she says so, it will be true?

    Finally, your increase-in-traffic argument is astonishingly weak. For years at old Jesters we had dray lorries deliver beer while large articulates delivered food. These days, if you hang around on a Friday on Cheltenham Road, you’ll see a huge articulate deliver supplies to our new venue from 3663. To say that Tesco need deliveries while a local store will store supplies on site is simply ridiculous. I take it you’ve never had to dodge round the transit that delivers to Best Supermarket – usually at 6pm ish. (Or maybe you have, but that’s ok because they’re locals and the same criteria don’t apply to them?) For me, it would appear that they have no qualms in blocking the road with their deliveries – on a much more critical road space than outside old Jesters.

    I’ll leave you all to clutch at straws. Best of luck.



    • Thanks for taking the trouble to write, David, and sharing your informed knowledge.

      I don’t think I am deluded. I think I am hopeful. There are plenty of examples of communities – which do not want a Tesco or any other anti-competitive supermarket in their high street – being successful in their objections.

      I also think that Tesco in common with other corporations uses its huge resources to exploit planning regulations.

      It is not a level playing-field. I cannot begin to compare Tesco with a local business. For instance, would a Tesco Express be taxed as a sole trader? I think not. I believe it would be advantaged by paying tax as part of a corporation.

      What do you think?


  7. I think the reason I use the word deluded is because I see well-meaning people completely missing the point, ignoring the law, and operating from a stand-point that looks more like a kick against capitalism than any real devotion to a credible cause. If an organic food supermarket were so important to SC, where were all the anti-Tesco brigade when old Jesters was available to lease – together with a sign on the building saying so?Your ‘movement’ is very good at saying what they don’t want, but as far as I see, terrible at providing commercially-viable alternatives.

    Since you asked, do you actually know the specific differences between corporation tax and personal tax? Tesco as a corporation will be taxed at the highest rate of CT (currently 33% I believe). I don’t know, but I imagine that each of their stores (small and large) is lumped in as part of the corporation as a whole. If so, that means that of their £3 billion gross profit a year, Tesco will pay more than £1 billion back to the UK government.
    As a sole trader you would be taxed on your income, as determined by the money drawn upon for personal use.

    Your question seemed to imply that as a corporation Tesco has some kind of tax advantage against us little people. I don’t believe that’s true. They sure have a massive economies-of-scale advantage, which is how they can command prices from suppliers so well, but are subject to UK tax law in the same way as my little company is. I don’t doubt they have better tax lawyers than me, but who cares?


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