Saturday, 19 June 2021

Model ‘proves’ new Tesco store would be dangerous

CAMPAIGNERS fighting Tesco’s plans to open a store in Goring demonstrated the potential dangers of the development using a scale

CAMPAIGNERS fighting Tesco’s plans to open a store in Goring demonstrated the potential dangers of the development using a scale model and remote control delivery truck.

The Stop Tesco In Goring pressure group held an exhibition at the village hall on Saturday where they encouraged villagers to park a lorry using the 1:32 scale model of the proposed shop.

The retailer wants to open an Express convenience store at the former Queen’s Arms pub but opponents claim delivery lorries will struggle to access the site in Reading Road so the drivers will park on the street, causing a hazard for pedestrians and other drivers.

Group chairman Rob Jones and member Simon Campbell created the model of the site and surrounding roads complete with cars, pedestrians, buildings, lamp posts and parking spaces. Mr Jones said: “Our concerns are really about the highways issues and about how unsafe the location is so we built a scale model with some scale models of the lorries and trucks that will be delivering.

“We’re demonstrating how dangerous and near impossible it is to safely deliver goods to the site as proposed by Tesco.

“Tesco has not produced any plans to show how lorries would enter and leave the site safely so we’ve done it for them.

“Thank goodness the model cars and model people were just models because we had several near-misses and some quite dangerous accidents and even teenagers using the remote control were finding it extremely challenging, if not impossible, to achieve the task of delivering safely.”

The group is also calling on the Planning Inspectorate to announce a moratorium on an appeal by Tesco to convert the site because of the fire at South Oxfordshire District Council’s offices last week.

Mr Jones said: “We think it’s unfair for the appeal to proceed when the council is in the state it is.”

George Campbell, 14, of Wallingford Road, Goring, had a go at parking the lorry.

He said: “I found it quite tough — it’s harder than it looks.

“It also shows how chaotic it would be. Before they reverse the lorry they’d have to move the cars and all the people out.”

Tesco took over the pub in 2013 and submitted a planning application to convert it in May last year. This is now the subject of the planning appeal. Full planning permission is not required to convert pubs into shops so the company only sought consent for minor works like signage but the district council says Tesco’s plan would extend the premises, which does need permission.

Meanwhile, the retailer has submitted a second, identical planning application.

Tesco says it has commissioned studies which show the site can be accessed by delivery lorries.

It says it would use smaller, rigid trucks rather than articulated lorries and these would not have problems getting in and out.

The company says it is “confident” that a store in the village would be popular and it has spoken to many residents who support it.

Last year, the Goring Gap Business Network carried out a survey in which 169 of 298 respondents, or 57 per cent, opposed the development.

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