A SECOND public meeting held to gauge opinions about a supermarket’s plans to build a massive store has taken place.

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"The town is simply not big enough to absorb yet another supermarket within it."

Malcolm Dey

The majority of residents who attended were, once again, against the proposal to build a Tesco supermarket on the former Shredded Wheat on Broadwater Road in WGC.

Held by the WGC Society at Woodhall Community Centre, residents raised concerns about the “disastrous effect” the development would have on the small shops at Woodhall Parade, Peartree and Hollybush.

Doubts were also expressed about the multinational delivering the promised swimming pool and leisure centre.

But a number of people in the audience spoke in favour of the application, calling on the WGC Society and other protestors to “engage in closer dialoges with Tesco to see if a compromise could be sorted out”.

WHT editor Terry Mitchinson, chairing the meeting, took a straw poll – there were seven votes in favour of the proposals with 78 against.

After the meeting WGC Society chairman Shaun O’Reilly said: “It is very clear to us now that the strength of feeling across the town opposing this planning application is very strong.

“Significantly, it is as strong to the east of Broadwater Road as it is elsewhere.

“Clearly residents do not want another wrecked town centre, let alone their neighbourhood shops shut down.

“Councillors should listen closely to what the residents are saying.”

Vice-chairman Malcolm Dey added: “The Planning Inspector has already thrown out proposals for retail on this site in the Welwyn Hatfield District Plan April 2004.

“He said ‘the Plan’s proposals for WGC town centre are sufficient, suitable and viable to meet that need without an unacceptable impact on its character. I have not therefore recommended the provision of any further significant retail floor space east of the railway line’.

“The town is simply not big enough to absorb yet another supermarket within it.

“We all know there is a large Tesco barely a quarter-of-a-mile from the first town sign by the Stanborough Lakes.”

The consultation period has now closed and Welwyn Hatfield Council’s planning committee will decide in the new year, whether to allow the development to go-ahead.

* Spenhill, the regeneration arm of Tesco, is hosting three public exhibitions next month; one at Christchurch Baptist Church in Parkway on Tuesday, January 18 and a further two at Woodhall Community Centre on Wednesday 19th and Saturday 22nd.

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