Welwyn Garden City residents question Tesco

A public meeting for residents to voice their opinions about a supermarket’s plans to build a store on the run-down Broadwater Road site in WGC was held on Monday

Hundreds packed into the meeting organised by the WGC Society, here are a few of their comments:

*Richard Bower said: “The application is in two parts, one half is detailed planning application, the other outline.

“Interestingly the detailed application includes the shop and anything that’s commercial, the housing is in the outline scheme.

“How serious is Tesco about building the houses?”

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*David Sutcliff, born in WGC 80 years ago, said: “Tesco is enormously powerful and has huge experience with planning, they have met this situation and protest time and again. How many times have these applications failed?”

*Lisa Lawrence, who has lived in WGC for 48 years, said the extra cars and traffic would “have a major impact” on the Bridge Road/Broadwater Road traffic light junction.

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*Former GP and resident since 1958 John Perren said: “I’m concerned for the small shopping areas, such as Woodhall. A large supermarket will suck in a huge amount of trade.” He added: “I’ve heard nothing discussed with the GPs about the need for a surgery in the area.”

*Andrew Carneige from Welwyn Hatfield Chamber of Commerce said: “The danger is the impact on other stores.

“There is a question mark over the continued presence of John Lewis, which is essential to our well being.

*Janet Hayden asked who owned the strip of land close to the railway track which Tesco do not own, and suggested that as a town “we buy it”.

*Dorothy Smith, who has lived in WGC for 22 years, asked everyone to boycott Tesco at Oldings, Hatfield “until they re-sell this site”.

*Former WGC Society chairman Alan Kidney said Tesco was defeated at a public inquiry in 2004 about the Broadwater Road site so it should not win now.

*Howard Centre manager Peter Brooks was concerned the draw of three hours free parking would stop people coming into the town centre.

He said in the original plan the non-food element of the Tesco store was just 25 per cent, this has risen to 40 per cent.

Mr Brooks added there are currently 120,000 movements across the railway bridge each week.

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