Is Tenbury a town divided after Tesco decision?

CONCERNS about the divide left in Tenbury by the Tesco supermarket controversy united both supporters and opponents at the planning meeting that approved the scheme.

Now the town must wait to see if the opponents take their fight further by seeking a judicial review.

A Malvern Hills District Council planning committee meeting at Tenbury High School approved the supermarket plan for the former cattle market site by a majority of 11 to one with four abstentions.

But this is does not tell the story of the passion of a marathon four-hour meeting in the packed hall.

Speaking for Tenbury Futures, Andrew Stephenson urged the committee to reject a scheme that he said would result in net loss of 100 jobs and was opposed by English Heritage, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, both the Tenbury and Burford civic societies and the Victorian Society.

Mr Stephenson warned the scheme could damage the town ‘beyond repair’ and could sound the death knell for struggling independent traders.

“This has created a lingering acrimonious split within our community,” he said.

“It is very similar to the plan that was rejected by this committee last year.”

Phil Grove, leader of Malvern Hills District Council and councillor for the town, struck a sombre note.

“There are no winners tonight because this town is split. If we approve this there will be people who will be delighted and others will be very disappointed,”

he said.

“Whatever decision we make this evening, there will either be an appeal or a judicial review.”

The council leader said there could be no dispute that the former cattle market site needed regeneration but he did not think the new plan was sufficiently different to the previously refused one.

He believed the supermarket was too big and unsuccessfully proposed that the plan be rejected.

However Tony Penn, fellow Conservative group member on the district council, made a blistering attack on the objectors.

“The objectors do not represent the local people,” he said. “There is a large majority of people in Tenbury who welcome this development.”

He claimed that a significant number of the objectors did not even come from Tenbury.

He said the Tesco development offered a great opportunity for the town with jobs, an improved riverside walk, a more attractive public realm and a new community transport scheme.

George Price, speaking for Tenbury Town Council, said that the authority supported the Tesco application because it would bring back into use a derelict site and add vibrancy to the town.

He challenged the claim of objectors to represent the majority view in Tenbury.

“It is my experience that the overall majority of residents are in favour,”

said Coun Price.

After approving the Tesco scheme, planners went on to grant permission for the demolition of the Russell, Baldwin and Bright building on the site which has to be demolished for the development to go ahead.

But this also resulted in an acrimonious debate in which Matt Crawford, for Tenbury Futures, urged councillors to take the opportunity to “right a wrong”.

He described the old infirmary as a “much-loved old building” and an important part of Tenbury’s Heritage.

However, Councillor Penn said: “Much loved old building? I wonder who is kidding who. It’s a dump.”

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12:14am Sat 17 Mar 12

Rotten Boroughs says...

However Tony Penn, fellow Conservative group member on the district council, made a blistering attack on the objectors.

“The objectors do not represent the local people,” he said. “There is a large majority of people in Tenbury who welcome this development.”

- Then explain why Malvern Hills has received many hundreds of written objections from local and regional people to the Tesco plan. As Phil Grove acknowledges, the Tesco plan has caused a bitter split over this plan. The fact that the planning committee room erupted into what one observer called a 'near standing ovation' when objectors spoke must have been acknowledged by 'Pro Tesco' members such as Cllr Penn. The objectors claim that a majority do not want the plan, Cllr Penn claims the majority 'support' the plan - who is right, it's quite easy for each side to make these claims but who can really substantiate them?

He claimed that a significant number of the objectors did not even come from Tenbury.

- The percentage of objectors from outside the region is small in comparison to local and regional objectors. This is surely in part Tenbury's tourism supporters talking? They don't want the rural Worcestershire market town they wandered around easily last summer turned into yet another bland facsimile of every other featureless clone highstreet - why can't the town's council and tourism officials see this?

He said the Tesco development offered a great opportunity for the town with jobs...

- And yet staff at Tesco Ludlow have said that the standard Tesco policy is to employ a majority of part and short-term staff to get the store up and running initially. Once this has been achieved, the roles can (and normally are) quickly and easily scaled-down to a fraction of the original amount quoted to make sure that the store is working as efficiently as possible.
However Tony Penn, fellow Conservative group member on the district council, made a blistering attack on the objectors. “The objectors do not represent the local people,” he said. “There is a large majority of people in Tenbury who welcome this development.” - Then explain why Malvern Hills has received many hundreds of written objections from local and regional people to the Tesco plan. As Phil Grove acknowledges, the Tesco plan has caused a bitter split over this plan. The fact that the planning committee room erupted into what one observer called a 'near standing ovation' when objectors spoke must have been acknowledged by 'Pro Tesco' members such as Cllr Penn. The objectors claim that a majority do not want the plan, Cllr Penn claims the majority 'support' the plan - who is right, it's quite easy for each side to make these claims but who can really substantiate them? He claimed that a significant number of the objectors did not even come from Tenbury. - The percentage of objectors from outside the region is small in comparison to local and regional objectors. This is surely in part Tenbury's tourism supporters talking? They don't want the rural Worcestershire market town they wandered around easily last summer turned into yet another bland facsimile of every other featureless clone highstreet - why can't the town's council and tourism officials see this? He said the Tesco development offered a great opportunity for the town with jobs... - And yet staff at Tesco Ludlow have said that the standard Tesco policy is to employ a majority of part and short-term staff to get the store up and running initially. Once this has been achieved, the roles can (and normally are) quickly and easily scaled-down to a fraction of the original amount quoted to make sure that the store is working as efficiently as possible. Rotten Boroughs

12:50am Sat 17 Mar 12

Tenbury Futures says...

The town is still very much divided on the Tesco issue with many left in disbelief that it was accepted.

Town Cllr Price claims that the traders are 70% 'for' the scheme but you need to balance this comment too by mentioning that many of the town's small highstreet shops put up 'No Tesco' posters on the lead-up to the recent planning committee.

Additionally, in his response to Norman Wanstall's letter in the Tenbury Advertiser, Thu Mar 15th 2012, Cllr Price also claims that the town council -didn't- reject the Tesco plan. This simply isn't the case though, a packed gallery of public onlookers witnessed this event and the Shropshire Star's 11th Oct 2011 article: "Tenbury Wells councillors in Tesco backing U-turn" explains:

" Town councillors previously decided not to support the supermarket giant’s proposals after a secret ballot at an extraordinary council meeting on September 26.

But after fears were raised over the legal validity of the vote, a group of councillors tabled a motion calling for the decision to be rescinded"...

We witnessed the initial vote 'against' the Tesco plan Cllr Price, a packed gallery of public onlookers did too and the Shropshire Star has detailed the event and the town council's subsequent U-turn.

Read more: http://www.shropshir
estar.com/news/2011/
10/11/tenbury-wells-
councillors-in-tesco
-backing-u-turn/#ixz
z1pKWuoPVz
The town is still very much divided on the Tesco issue with many left in disbelief that it was accepted. Town Cllr Price claims that the traders are 70% 'for' the scheme but you need to balance this comment too by mentioning that many of the town's small highstreet shops put up 'No Tesco' posters on the lead-up to the recent planning committee. Additionally, in his response to Norman Wanstall's letter in the Tenbury Advertiser, Thu Mar 15th 2012, Cllr Price also claims that the town council -didn't- reject the Tesco plan. This simply isn't the case though, a packed gallery of public onlookers witnessed this event and the Shropshire Star's 11th Oct 2011 article: "Tenbury Wells councillors in Tesco backing U-turn" explains: "[Tenbury] Town councillors previously decided not to support the supermarket giant’s proposals after a secret ballot at an extraordinary council meeting on September 26. But after fears were raised over the legal validity of the vote, a group of councillors tabled a motion calling for the decision to be rescinded"... We witnessed the initial vote 'against' the Tesco plan Cllr Price, a packed gallery of public onlookers did too and the Shropshire Star has detailed the event and the town council's subsequent U-turn. Read more: http://www.shropshir estar.com/news/2011/ 10/11/tenbury-wells- councillors-in-tesco -backing-u-turn/#ixz z1pKWuoPVz Tenbury Futures

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