Template Letter

COPY – PASTE – PERSONALISE – SEND

Dear Jonathan,

I object to Tesco’s application to open at 138-142 Cheltenham Road at the junction of Stokes Croft, Montpelier and Kingsdown.

Before outlining why I object to the shop front application made by Tesco I would like it known that this is the only opportunity I have to comment on a development that I believe will have a negative impact on the area I live in. As a multinational corporation, Tesco is profoundly different in operation and ethos from all other businesses in the area. It is a serious failing of planning law that no public scrutiny is given to the social, economic and environmental impact of a development that is counter to the character and existing development of the area.

Alongside my objection to the shop front I would like Bristol City Council to do all in its powers to bring about reform of planning laws to give me much greater say in how our towns and cities develop.

I would  like to register my objection in response to the following planning applications:

10/02337/A Installation of illuminated and non-illuminated signage.
10/02338/F External alterations to shop front including installation of an ATM
10/02338/F Installation of plant and machinery, screening wall and external alterations to rear service yard

Objections to planning applications:

  1. Any shopfront incorporating the Tesco brand will have a negative impact on local traders, the local economy and local culture

Planning Advice Note 8: Shopfront guidelines outlines that one of the functions of a shop front is that “it advertises the business’ presence and its style and character”. Local plans for the area[1] make it clear that independent trade and the creative arts hold the key to the successful development of Stokes Croft: Independent trade is one of the hallmarks and strengths of Stokes Croft: new development should, as a preference, provide shop units of a size that is suitable for specialist trade and discourages main stream retailing. There should be care that large retailers (such as the main foodstore chains) do not supplant the range of local shops. (p.61).

Therefore, any shopfront containing branding for Tesco – or any other multiple-retailer, serves to advertise a large retailer that has been acknowledged within our Local Plan to supplant the range of local shops and therefore undermine the local economy and culture.

2. A Tesco shopfront will harm the appearance of the area

The Bristol Local Plan states: “Shopfronts that harm the appearance of an area through inapprpropriate design … will not be permitted”

A Tesco shopfront will indeed harm the appearance of this area due to the inapppropriateness of the proposed design:

2.i Harm to the area’s three Conservation Areas

The Stokes Croft Gateway Enhancement Plan states that: “… architecture should be appropriate to the Conservation Area.”

The presence of the Tesco brand as incorporated within its shopfront architecture would harm the Montpelier Conservation Area’s image and ruin the view from Kingsdown. A recent application for a supermarket at the nearby 7 Ashley Road site was last year declined by the Development Control committee on the grounds that it was inappropriate development within a Conservation Area . The same judgement should be made here.

2.ii The Tesco brand would harm the area’s historic environment and the independent, unique character of the area and its community

Government legislation PPS5: Planning and the Historic Environment (HE3) states that local plans should set out a positive and proactive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment, taking into account:

Its influence on the character of the environment and an areas sense of place.

The Stokes Croft Gateway Enhancement Plan states that:

  • Independent trade is one of the hallmarks and strengths of Stokes Croft …
  • The architecture should be appropriate to the unique historical environment and the Conservation Area.

This proposed shopfront and its incorporated Tesco brand form part of the proposed shop’s architecture and are inappropriate to this area’s unique historical environment and its Conservation Area. Stokes Croft and Montpelier is characterised overwhelmingly by a ‘DIY’ culture of independence and self-sufficiency. Tesco would unduly influence our sense of place and crush the local character.

2.iii Illuminated Tesco signs would change the character of the area and make Tesco unfairly dominant

PAN8, section 2: “modern factory made fascias of plastic, acrylic or similar materials, often internally illuminated, are out of place on buildings of historic traditional design and will usually only be acceptable on modern buildings”.

No other shops or businesses have such large or highly recognisable and continuously illuminated lighting fascia boards which would change the character of the area and make Tesco unfairly dominant.

2.iv The font used in the Tesco brand is not in keeping with the predominantly early 19th century shopfront or the surrounding area

PAN 8 states that “Type face of the lettering on the shopfront should be in keeping with the style of the shopfront”

In summary

The way Tesco as a company promote their products infringes best practice laid out in PAN8. For example, pictures promoting dairy produce, meat and bread in window displays are significantly bigger and brighter than those of would be-neighbours. Such corporate images would be insensitive to the local area, with its emphasis on independent trade and the creative arts and detrimental to the long term sustainability of this part of Bristol.

Historic buildings are a finite resource and one from which local economies can derive value.

Examples of cities where heritage has been used to increase economic activity can be seen at the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter and the Liverpool docks. Stokes Croft, Kingsdown and Montpelier are Conservation Areas where the built environment should be preserved, enhanced and protected for the benefit of local identity and future generations.

Many thanks,

[Add your name, address and postcode]


[1] .The proposed site on Cheltenham Road is included within The Stokes Croft Gateway Enhancement Plan (see page 14 for map) and its Action Plan. Whilst the Supplementary Planning Document: St Pauls Neighbourhood Plan fails to include the proposed site, these aforementioned documents form part of the overarching document and most importantly the site is experientially seen by local people to be part of both Stokes Croft and Montpelier – both of which are renowned for their uniquely independent character and culture.

END

—————–

Additional information for your letter of objection could include:

Additional information for 2.ii)

Such shopfront and architecture would negatively impact on the character of the surrounding area and send out a false message that people are benign to the arrival of a multi-national. This part of Bristol is proud to be different and has been nationally congratulated for having remained so in the face of increased homogenisation of our townscapes – please see this reporthttp://www.neweconomics.org/projects/clone-town-britain

2.v A shopfront spanning three properties is inappropriate and would destroy the buildings’ heritage asset

PAN8 states that: “Shopfront fascias and display windows should not span more than one property, as this upsets the rhythm established by these divisions.” (p.10)

Tesco have taken on the lease of 138-142 Cheltenham Road. Plans show they intend to span the front of all three properties which would make the upper floors look out of context. This move also contravenes Government legislation PPS5:HE10.2 which states that the – ‘local planning authorities should identify opportunities for changes in the setting to enhance or better reveal the significance of a heritage asset. Taking such opportunities should be seen as a public benefit…’ The proposed shop front would destroy the significance of the heritage asset that is 138-142 Cheltenham Road and serve to set precedent for increased disregard for historic fabric in the area

3. If these shopfront and external works applications are granted they will contravene the following Government policy, among numerous others:

  • PPS5: Planning for the Historic Environment, HE3, point 2:

Regional Spatial Strategies and Local Development Frameworks should set out a positive and proactive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment in their area, taking into account the variations in type and distribution of heritage asset, as well as the contribution made by the historic environment by virtue of:

Its’ potential to be a catalyst for the regeneration of an area, in particular through leisure, tourism and economic regeneration”

Increasing numbers of diverse people are visiting the local area as a leisure destination, tourists from around the world are routinely found photographing street art and there has been a surge in popular interest in the legacy the area has for being a place of alternative ideas. The historic fabric and built environment that remain should be used to tell these stories, enhancing economic regeneration and aiding the growing sense of community identity. The Tesco brand, as incorporated within its shopfront, undermines and devalues the legacy the area has for being a place of non-conformity.

The stimulus it can provide to inspire new development of imaginative and high quality design”

The proposed shopfront design, and the Tesco brand it incorporates, serves only to detract from the character of the area and set a damaging precedent for other multi-nationals that share Tesco’s lack of imagination and love of dull, quick fix building design.

  • PPS5, Planning for the Historic Environment: HE6.1

Where an application site includes, or is considered to have the potential to include heritage assets with archaeological interest, local planning authorities should require developers to submit an appropriate desk-based assessment and where desk-based research is insufficient, to properly assess the interest, a field evaluation” (p.9)

The application for external works includes developments on land adjacent to Picton Lane, present on maps of South Gloucestershire dating from the first quarter of the 18th century. No desk based assessment has been submitted by the developers and the case for field evaluation of this historic site can well be made. Permission for this application cannot be granted until such assessment and evaluation have been carried out regarding its potential archeological impact.

END
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