Friday, 04 December 2020

Tesco denies store would create road safety hazard

TESCO has hit back at campaigners’ claims that a new branch in Goring would create a road

TESCO has hit back at campaigners’ claims that a new branch in Goring would create a road safety hazard.

The supermarket chain has been trying to convert the former Queen’s Arms pub in Reading Road into an Express convenience store with on-site parking and cold storage.

It has submitted a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council to extend the premises to create a 2,830 sq ft shop floor having been given consent for “minor works” such as signage last year.

Opponents claim the scheme is dangerous because lorries would struggle to reverse into the car park when making deliveries, so would park at the roadside and block views of the junction with Wallingford Road and Gatehampton Road.

A report by highways consultant Glanville, written on behalf of the Stop Tesco In Goring pressure group, said it would also be unsafe for pedestrians to cross those streets to reach the store due to heavy traffic.

Now Tesco’s consultant Transport Planning Associates has written a report disputing these findings.

It claims Glanville’s report carries little weight as it is a provisional safety review, not a more advanced safety audit, so it “is more of a commentary on the proposed design and… can contain subjective views”.

It says the author only visited the site for 30 minutes, which was not enough to obtain a detailed view of traffic movements, and the report provides no evidence for its claim that shoppers walking along Wallingford Road would step into the carriageway as the pavement is too narrow. TPA says: “While the store would generate some additional pedestrian trips, the majority would be local to the site and, as such, aware of existing highway conditions.

“Narrow footways and indeed an entire lack of footways is not uncommon in Goring, even in High Street, where pedestrian flows are likely to be higher than at any other location in the village.”

It also says Tesco would be legally obliged to use 8.4m vehicles, which would be able to access the car park and would have a banksman guiding them in.

It says the company has to avoid two delivery lorries arriving at once but this could be managed by good communication with suppliers.

The report says: “The vehicles will be smaller than local refuse vehicles, which clearly access the village on a frequent basis both for residential and commercial collections. These are therefore viable routes which can also be used by Tesco delivery vehicles without any material detriment over and above existing movements.”

TPA also disputes Glanville’s claim that the 14 parking spaces proposed would be too few, saying this is based on a flawed assumption that all vehicles would stay on site for an hour when, on average, they were likely to leave after 10 minutes.

The report says there have been only four accidents in that part of the village since 1979 and there is no evidence to support a particular problem in the area “that might be exacerbated by the proposed scheme”.

Rob Jones, chairman of Stop Tesco In Goring, said: “This doesn’t change the fundamental fact that it’s the wrong development in the wrong place.”

The district council is not expected to decide the application for at least another fortnight.

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