By Chris Lennon and Kelly-Ann Kiernan
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
TESCO’S plans to redevelop the Broadwater Road site in Welwyn Garden City have tonight (Wednesday) been thrown out by councillors.
Welwyn Hatfield Council’s planning committee voted by 13 votes to 1 to back officers’ recommendations to refuse the proposal.
Only Cllr Irene Dean – wife of council leader John Dean – backed Tesco’s application, while Cllr Darren Bennett, who had declared an interest at the start of the meeting due to a relative’s employment status with the supermarket giant, abstained from voting.
The plans would have seen a Tesco store built on the land it owns in Broadwater Road.
Tesco had also promised to build a swimming pool, heritage centre, hotel, civic square and a residential development.
Tesco spokesman Michael Kissman told the committee the application represented the only chance for development of the site – and warned it could remain derelict for a long time if refused.
However, councillors listed a number of reasons for refusing the proposal, including the potential impact on both the town centre and rival supermarkets such as Morrisons, in Panshanger.
The inability of the traffic network to cope with such a development was another major sticking point that councillors could not see past.
Two more applications from Tesco – for the site’s listed silos and development of the railway bridge – were approved by the committee.
The meeting had been moved from the council chamber into the auditorium at Campus West, and was held in front of a packed audience – with reports of more than 100 residents left outside, unable to be accommodated in the 340-seat venue.