Template Letter

COPY – PASTE – PERSONALISE – SEND

Dear Nigel,

Re. Applications for proposed Tesco on Cheltenham Road

Nigel, please read these objections with an open mind. In the absence of a definitive list of material considerations there is without doubt subjectivity within these decisions. Please let go of your deep seated conviction that there is nothing we can say that will allow you to recommend denying permission.

1. Servicing is a material consideration for these applications

Servicing this proposed Tesco Express would involve some 42 deliveries a week, at up to 40 minutes per delivery – all within a 6 hour period. This presents serious risks to public and highway safety, the impacts of which have so far not been assessed. Now that Planners know the identity of the proposed store they are aware of the nature and extent of servicing this store.

On 22 September Planners dismissed our serious concerns about deliveries to, and collections from, the proposed store, on the basis that they had received legal advice that they are not relevant (material considerations) to these external works and shop front applications. This simply is not true. The Government’s Planning Inspectorate has already ruled that servicing is a material consideration for external works and shop frontage applications, as evidenced in the case of Mill Road in Cambridge and Sunningdale in Berkshire. This is because, were permission to be granted, the proposed store would open and a direct consequence of this would be the servicing and its associated risks to public and highway safety.

It would be entirely negligent to grant permission for these applications in the absence of adequate impact assessment around the servicing of this proposed store.

When drafting your report to Councillors I would like you to address the following questions:

  1. Why, when the Government’s Planning Inspectorate has already ruled that servicing is a material consideration for these applications, are you denying this and ignoring the signifcant risks to public and highway safety?
  2. Why has there been no impact assessment of the signifcant risks to public and highway safety posed by the servicing of this proposed store, now that you have information about the intensity of such servicing at clearly precarious locations?

2. It is unacceptable to dismiss Bristol’s Statement of Community Involvement.

At the meeting on 22 September, Planners dismissed the need to pay any attention to Bristol’s Community Involvement Statement, stating that compliance is not mandatory or obligatory. This document is a statutory requirement from central government and significant amounts of public money have been spent producing it. It is therefore entirely unacceptable to grant permission for these applications until the directives within the Statement have been followed. Whilst the specifics of how applicants comply with the Statement is discretional, it is unacceptable that the Council’s Planning Officers have made no attempts to encourage compliance with it – or sought any explanation for why the applicant is refusing to comply with it. The fact that both the Council and applicant have shown complete disregard for the Statement must also be recognised as showing complete disrespect for the need to involve the community in their operations and plans.

Bristol’s Community Involvement Statement states that:

Developers will be expected to involve the local community and Ward Members in early discussion of the implications of their proposals and how these might be dealt with. [our emphasis]”

The document also states that the Council will encourage developers to undertake various specific community involvement activities. This particular proposed development falls under category 2 – sensitive sites. The document outlines a variety of activities the Council is supposed to encourage developers to carry out.

We have seen absolutely no effort by Tesco to meaningfully involve the community or Ward members in the development of its plans. We have also seen no evidence of the Council encouraging Tesco to do this.

In fact, when our local MP and Barbara Janke asked Tesco to carry out a consultation, they said they would only do this is they did not need to call it a consultation as they were not prepared to act on its results. This is clear evidence of Tesco’s complete disregard for what our local community wants and needs.

It would be entirely negligent to grant permission for this proposed store in the absence of efforts to adhere to Bristol’s Community Involvement Statement. Refusal to do so by the applicant should be viewed as evidence of Tesco’s complete disregard for its impact on our community.

When drafting your report to Councillors I would like Planners to address the following questions:

  1. What efforts has the Council made to encourage Tesco to adhere to the Community Involvement Statement? If none, please explain why.
  2. What activities has Tesco carried out to involve the community in the development of its plans?
  3. What is the purpose of the Community Involvement Statement if the Council ignores it in Planning decisions such as these?

3. SPD10 and the Stokes Croft Plan are relevant to these applications.

SPD10 contains a directive on page 13 that ‘Development proposals are expected to address … the Stokes Croft Study’.

The page on which this directive is given, also includes a map clearly showing the boundary including the proposed site. So, whilst SPD10’s boundaries fall metres short of the proposed site, page 13 contains an exception where the boundary is extended to include the Stokes Croft area. SPD10 explicitly identifies this area as being in need of particular attention and, more specifically, that independent traders must be protected from supermarkets.

Planning Officers have dismissed the relevance of SPD10 and the Stokes Croft Plan on the basis that SPD10’s boundaries fall metres short of the proposed site. However if this directive on page 13 of SPD10 did not intend the proposed site to be included, then surely the inclusion of the map would be accompanied by a note explaining that this stretch of Cheltenham Road is not included in this directive. In the absence of this stated exclusion, then the map can only be interpreted to delineate the expanded boundary for this particular directive.

The Stokes Croft Plan makes it clear that care must be taken to ensure the range of small shops is not supplanted by supermarkets. It is unacceptable to dismiss this.

Permission cannot be granted for these applications until an adequate explanation has been provided as to why Planning officers are choosing to ignore the clear boundaries set within SPD10, with respect to the Stokes Croft Plan.

When drafting your report to Councillors I would like Planners to address the following questions:

  1. Why the map on page 13 of SPD10 clearly showing the proposed site being included within the Stokes Croft Plan is being ignored.
  2. Why, if the proposed site was not intended to be included within SPD10’s directive to address the Stokes Croft Plan, there is no annotation on the map (that includes the proposed site), clearly stating that despite the Stokes Croft Plan including this site, that for the purposes of SPD10, this is not the case.
  3. Why, when the official Plan for Stokes Croft makes it clear that care must be taken to protect independent traders from supermarkets, absolutely nothing has been done to address this?

4. Tesco must apply and be granted permission for an extension, for the proposed store to open.

The addition of 26 square metres of pre-fabricated buildings in the form of walk-in chiller and freezer rooms clearly constitutes an extension to the existing building. Tesco has not applied for this and is attempting to pass these prefabricated buildings as external works.

Permission to open the proposed store cannot be granted in the absence of an additional application for an extension.

When drafting your report to Councillors I would like Planners to address the following questions:

  1. Why there has been no application for an extension for these pre-fabricated buildings.
  2. Why the Council has not requested such an application as a condition to opening the proposed store.
  3. Why, when the need for this extension was raised ahead of the meeting on 22 September, Planning Officers failed to respond to this and the issue was completely ignored.

5. Tesco’s recently submitted noise report is entirely flawed and full of inconsistencies and therefore completely invalid.

Tesco’s BS4142 acoustic report, submitted by KR Associates, is highly inaccurate. In several areas, incorrect methods and have been used, leading to a distorted and inaccurate noise assessment which wrongly states that Tesco’s proposed external works will fall within Bristol City Council’s stated noise requirements for new developments of 6dB below background levels.

1. Background noise level assessment

To assess background noise level, the report states that for night time assessments, 5 minute noise readings should be measured throughout the night, and the lowest 5 minute reading should be taken as the background noise level. The lowest 5 minute reading KRA measured was 27.1 dB (see p26). However, they have not used the lowest 5 minute reading in their background noise level assessment, but have instead worked out the average reading from the entire night. This means they assessed the background noise level at 30dB, which is 2.9dB higher than if they had used the lowest reading as required.

2. Acoustic Feature Correction of plant

In BS4142 noise assessments, the measured noise emitted by the plant should be penalised by 5dB if the noise contains a distinguishable, discrete, continuous note (whine, hiss, screech, hum etc), distinct impulses (bangs, clicks, clatters or thumps) or an irregular occurrence. The report has not applied the acoustic feature correction which makes the readings incorrect because:

  • The plant will emit a distinguishable, discrete note: The condenser (Searle MGB124) and the AC units (Mitsubishi) have a high frequency whine caused by the motors and a low frequency hum created by the fan blades.
  • The noise emitted will be irregular and will include distinct impulses: the plant will be operated by a thermostat, meaning it will consistently turn off when it reaches a desired temperature, and on again when the temperature drops below a certain level. This will create a sudden jump in noise from the plant which will normally be accompanied by a clicking noise from a solenoid in the motor.

The measurements in Tesco’s report misrepresent the situation because:

  • They assessed the condenser within controlled conditions, where the air through the fan would have been uniform and not caused much noise. In real conditions (i.e. outside), even a slight wind can cause the fan blades to make a hum noise.
  • Data beyond 5000Hz has not been included despite the human ear being able to detect sound as high as 20,000Hz. This means the report does not determine tonal content on this range of audible hearing and therefore does not represent an adequate assessment of the actual noise of the plants.

3. Searle Condenser Data

Tesco’s report rates the condenser as having a sound power level of 50.5 dB when running at 2V 216prm. However, the manufacturer’s (Searle) Sales Deparment have provided data which suggests the sound power level will be much higher than this.

According to Tesco’s report their proposed external works will fall within the Council’s stated noise requirements of 6dB below background levels. However, when recalculated to take into account the inaccuracies highlighted above, both night and day time levels are in fact above this figure and will therefore exceed the Council’s condition of being 6dB below background levels.

This acoustic report is wholly inaccurate and misleading. Tesco is renowned for submitting similarly misleading and inaccurate reports elsewhere in the country. They are wasting our precious time and resources and cannot be allowed to continue to make a farce of this situation.

Having initially failed to even produce an acoustic report when clearly required in order to meet conditions set by the Council and now presenting an invalid report, permission must be denied for this external works application on the basis that they are unable to meet the conditions set.

In the Development Control meeting on 22 September, the No Tesco campaign submitted an acoustic report carried out by an accredited noise consultant. This clearly showed that the external works would create too much noise to meet the Council’s condition. The Committee dismissed this report and asked Tesco to submit their own report. This then allowed Tesco to hire a company willing to distort its findings in order to gain the results Tesco desired. This draws into question the appropriateness of Tesco (or any applicant), rather than an independent body appointed by Bristol City Council, being responsible for commissioning such reports.

When drafting your report to Councillors I would like Planners to address the following questions:

  1. How can Tesco’s report be valid if it has incorrectly used the average, rather than lowest background noise levels?
  2. Why does the report not incorporate the necessary 5dB penalty in light of it falling within the category of noise that requires this?
  3. Why does the report only use data up to 5000Hz when the human ear detects noise up to 20 000Hz?
  4. What mechanism does the Council have to prevent applicants from submitting misleading noise reports that fail to comply with UK standards, and to disqualify applicants who do this from submitting further applications?

Ahead of the 22 September Development Control meeting you received hundreds of letters making an official complaint about the handling of this case by the Planning team, specifically asking to be notified of what action will be taken to investigate this. I demand to hear what action is being taken around this and to ensure your team are no longer able to show such negligence.

Best wishes,

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Responses

  1. There are too many inconsistencies and anomalies which have peppered the whole process of this Tesco application.
    This tends to confirm the feeling of the community that Tesco has a hold on the council and that the community has no voice in such basic issues as Food Supply. It makes us wonder if there is some dirty dealing going on over this application and others like it.
    If there is not some review of the whole application you can expect a very strong response to Tesco if it ever opens and to the council for not listening to our views. There will be direct action against this store if it goes ahead….the site has already been squatted. Don’t expect our community to accept this.

  2. Please dont let another Tesco ruin small businesses and the general atmosphere, culture and ethos of stokes croft. There are plenty of small shops in that area there is no need for another multi-national company swamping out small trade. There shoud be a cap on how many outlets a company can open.
    Please consider the comments written by me and other people. Thank you.

  3. I am totally against another Tesco’s in Stokes Croft. It drives away local businesses and surely this is NOT what Bristol would like for it’s community.

    Tamsin

  4. […] Please see No Tesco in Stokes Croft’s detailed template letter. […]

  5. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence
    on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us
    something informative to read?


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