Public inquiry needed

Have your say

TESCO have achieved outline planning permission for a supermarket on land south of the Braid, Amble.

I and many others originally strongly objected to the development. Our objections were sent to the council. Some of us also attended the northern area planning committee when the application was discussed.

Our objections to the outline planning permission included:

a) The development would increase pollution and traffic in Amble, and would create a traffic hazard next to the newly designated Town Green;

b) It would adversely affect local shops;

c) There was no attempt to consider the alternative site on the industrial estate;

d) The junction of the access road and the A1068 would be dangerous;

e) The site was on a grade two flood plain and should never have been approved by the county council

f) There are already massive local supermarkets in Ashington and Alnwick. Amble already has supermarkets and a wide range of excellent local shops and businesses.

2. Objectors to the development had only five minutes between them to speak at the Northern Area Planning committee. Five minutes for a public discussion of a development that would affect Amble for generations?

Amble councillors simply endorsed the developers’ plans.

Any objections to the scheme by councillor officers were overruled. Objectors had no opportunity to question the councillors present, some of whom came from Berwick and Hexham.

3. We find it totally unacceptable that the identity of the supermarket chain was only disclosed after the outline planning permission was approved, so much for transparency, openness, freedom of information,

If people had known that Tesco was involved, the outcome of the application may have been very different, given substantial national opposition to the aggressive ‘Tescoisation’ of many British towns.

4. The developers commissioned their own Retail Impact Assessment by Fairhurst and Partners which found, surprise, surprise, that the development would not have an adverse impact on local shops and that the Braid site was the only possible site. Well, they would conclude that wouldn’t they.

This report seems to be an important factor in the decision to approve the outline development submission.

In contrast when a similar development was proposed in Wooler, Northumberland county did their own assessment and refused planning permission on the grounds that it would have an adverse effect on local shops and retailers. Why wasn’t a similar independent assessment done in the case of Amble?

I therefore contend that the application by the developers was grossly flawed, seriously misleading and was not properly handled.

There was no discussion of who the applicant was until after permission was granted. No independent analysis of the location of the proposed development and its impact on Amble, which is a very special and unique community.

Many people think this development is inappropriate and damaging with the possibility of many Amble shops going under, boarded up or turned into charity shops.

The whole application should therefore be subjected to an independent public inquiry which should be undertaken immediately.

J Bird,

Mariner’s View,