Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Do we need another, even if it’s Tesco-on-Sea

tesco hooverBefore I go on too much, I have to say that when it was suggested that Tesco build a whooping great big supermarket on Margate front, I thought it utterly bonkers, for this reason, it would be out of place and stuff up the traffic (stuff wasn't the actual word).

I couldn’t imagine Thanet’s councillors would be so feeble, so insensitive or that stupid to wreck the efforts to improve Margate with a ( in my view, Tesco lawyers please note) hideous supermarket opposite the beach.

But lets face it, few Thanet councillors inspire confidence and the same sadly could be said of “officers” a view you may feel outrageous, but with the town having seen massive investment, to regenerate and build on a cultural niche, it just seemed incredible that the council would allow Tesco to distort the town is such an awful way.

I don’t dispute Tesco can be innovative like the Tesco I bought breakfast this morning (the old Hoover building on the A40) but the designs we’ve seen so far are crap in my opinion.

I have to say I was surprised to find what was a forthright editorial referring to Tesco amongst last Friday's Gazette letters page, even eclipsing the contribution by new Labour leader? Ian Driver. Well done Rebecca!

gem in the letters page
If we do somehow need a new flipping Tesco in Thanet to compliment the two superstores? two metro? two express (one about to be built) couldn't the council having changed the local plan to suit Tesco at least ask them to design something special as was the case, with the the Hoover building I mentioned earlier, something that not only compliments their bottom line but also enhances the look of our town and so that visitors on the beach are not constantly reminded of some grisly retail park.

Failing that I suggest the people of Margate boycott Tesco.


  1. Not sure about the Tesco. Whilst having some sympathy with Tony's view on the locating of a supermarket on the sea front, it will take big company money, like Tesco's, to make anything of the appalling eyesore that is Arlington arcade.

    What more interested me was Tony's low opinion of our district councillors and here one has to question this judgement.

    It was only in the spring of this year that we people of Thanet got the chance to elect a new council with plenty of choices, ten independent candidates and several from the smaller parties including, of course, Tony himself.

    What happened was in the main people stuck to their traditional party support with Tories returned in their strongholds, Labour in theirs and a few changes in the marginals. Whether we got the best is not for me to say but we got what the Thanet electorate chose. As such, the people having spoken, maybe we should give them a bit of support for a change.

    Having said all that I am not naive enough to expect any of the TDC knockers to change their spots and I guess that is what democracy and freedom of speech is all about.

  2. Presumably you think the Tesco in Broadstairs is on the seafront too? Of course, it's around the corner from the seafront, just as the Tesco in Margate will be.

  3. So Anon 11.37 thinks TDC councillors do a good job. The fact that so many tory councilors were re-elected was more to do with Mr Brown rather then how well they had performed. Thanetonline has a post on the Ramsgate Royal Sands development. A very important site to Ramsgate and not one without concerns re high tide flooding, cliff falls and with the possibility of night time flight noise right overhead. The Councillors disregarded the advice they were given by the chief exec to have an insurance bond in place should the developer default. So far the development has been at a snails pace and one wonders whether it is viable. What an expensive mess the council will have to sort out if it fails. Very risky way to do business. At least Tesco has a good track record in store development and once a design is agreed thats what you will get within the time agreed.

  4. 12:04 Correction - I never any where in my comment suggested our councillors did a good, or bad for that matter, job. I merely said they were the people's choice. As to Mr. Brown's contribution to the successes of Tory candidates, how do you explain the Labour gains.

    Are Labour councillors any better than Tory ones? Certainly Hart and Driver seem to have come in for a great deal of criticism even from some Labour quarters. Who knows but the point remains that they were chosen by the people and only just a few months ago.

    As for reference to Thanetonline as a source of fact, it is Michael's seemingly sole purpose in life to knock TDC even when he is proved wrong as with the underpinning of the cliff face scare.

  5. Michael on Thanetonline (as indeed Tony on here) is the first to admit & apologise when he's mistaken.

  6. ...unlike TDC, who never admit their mistakes (unless it is Cllrs "mistakenly" signing in for people who are living in Panama that is).

  7. Such small snippets of wisdom as ever from Peter. Does not contribute much to the debate either way but he always pops up.

  8. Perhaps the question that should be on people's minds is what improvements will occur to an admittedly run-down entry point to the town as a consequence of the investment being offered?

    Margate lacks the luxury of being able to pick and choose and I would hope that your readers will admit the arrival of Turner at one end of the town has acted as a powerful catalyst for regeneration.

    Much of what I read from time to time involves gossip and innuendo or indeed, a few loose facts sprinkled liberally with gossip and innuendo. Councillors do their best to deal with the facts, supported by professional and legal opinion in regard to what they may or may not do and without the benefit of such information, readers can only speculate.

  9. Peter, Michael may well admit when he is wrong but, as with the cliff underpinning mentioned elsewhere, he ran posts on it for a considerable length of time before finally it was confirmed the cliff was safe. I would suggest that by then the mischief had been done, as I am sure was his intention, and the TDC had suffered a lot of bad publicity.

    It is a bit like newspapers and their pathetic little apologies in some corner after they have castigated someone on the front page previously. The damage has already been doned.

    Much of Thanetonline is speculation based on hearsay rather than fact.

  10. If only TDC could give us facts from time to time rather than keep stum. I thought open govenment is what we now have.

  11. Moores I don't think we should bend over backwards for Tesco, and as to picking and choosing what's that got to do with anything.

    I just wonder if Tesco seafront project is a repeat of legend behind Arlington house which claimed the building part of a bet in which some claimed they could get anything built in Margate.

    As to professionals thanet council planning has had it's fair share of cock ups over the years a particular one in recent times in which residents were keep in the dark over changes to plans I believe for Meridian village and then trying to side step the facts,

    What possible reason is there to create chaos to traffic into Margate other than for the benefit of Tesco shareholders, apart from stopping residents getting to and from their homes, small businesses will have business sucked up by Tesco creating more vacant shops.

  12. Please note I have made changes to this blog post since, I originally uploaded, something I frequently do , I don't think it makes any difference. But having saved I thought a better final version for some reason " blogPress" iPhone app which as good as any did not upload

  13. If Tory planning committee members vote for the Margate Tesco, they will get voted out when people sit in their cars and realize what a cock-up the decision was.

    Anyone remember last time there were traffic lights at the clock tower? And that was without Traffic for the Turner, Dreamland or the extra 17,000 vehicles on weekends for Tesco.

    At least they should go and take a look at All Saints Avenue and imagine 17,000 vehicles accessing a road to the car park and loading bays off that. Remember, the HGVs, estimated at 1 per hour can't get under the railway bridge, and when they turn to merge into the lane, they will block the traffic in the opposite direction.

  14. Tom, Peter, et al, I think I had better clarify this cliff safety issue.

    The cliff façade behind the Pleasurama development can be split into three parts: The part at the Broadstairs end built in 1860, about half of this collapsed in the 1960s, last year I reported part of this as being dangerous, a week later a lump of it, big enough to kill you fell off from about forty feet up, after this the council put a barrier at the bottom, which was what I asked for in the first place. The middle part, the council sent me, the developer and the HSE the wrong design drawings, these showed a block infill and not what is really there, cast concrete, they also showed foundations to the main support pillars that didn’t appear to reach down to where the developer had dug, the developer investigated this, I found the right design drawings and apologised for not spotting the council’s error. The last part at the harbour end, I have already spotted one large crack and bulge in this part, which the council eventually repaired after I made a considerable fuss about it, another crack has now appeared in it, Cardys have investigated only one of the foundations to this part of the cliff and found it to be inadequate.

    Most worryingly though the councils external supervising engineer has stated that the cliff isn’t safe enough to support heavy weights next to the edge, the council promised to instigate a weight limit several years ago but haven’t got around to it.

    I have the documentation to substantiate everything I have said about the Pleasurama site safety issues, you only have to say what it you don’t believe and I can provide it for you.

  15. The drawings on UK Planning have major errors. For example, the sections show the ground level of the Tesco site as being the same as the Dreamland site. In fact, there is a 4 meter drop in ground level. Although the planning officers are aware the drawings do not represent the reality of the site and its surroundings, the planning Committee members and secretary of state were not told. People were shocked when they saw the independent representation showing the true scale of the superstore compared to the scenic railway. This is the worst thing that could happen to Margate, pushed through with a dose of deception.

  16. Westwood Cross dealt a big blow to Margate traders, leaving the high street with a record number of empty shops. Tesco did it's part. In recent months Margate has been coming back. The visitor economy is growing fast and the once empty shops in the old town are now coming back to life. The effect has started to spread up the high street.

    And then Tesco come along. In the current economic climate, what small business can take a 10 to 30 % loss in trade? Surely the Councilors don't want to lose all those businesses, jobs, and deliver a serious blow to Margate's regeneration?

  17. 2.09 could you clarify this, do you mean the new Tesco will be 4 metres taller of metres shorter than the plans show.

  18. 1:59 There are not just Tories on the planning committee and one has not heard much opposition to Tesco plans from Labour.

    Wasn't it Labour who planned and approve Westwood Cross?

    Seems some people just love to blame everything on the Tories.

    I travel from Broadstairs to Westgate everyday so don't want to see traffic chaos getting through Margate. However, if it is bad during the development I will simply go by train. Nothing has to be the end of the world unless, of course, you wish to exploit everything to have a go at the dreaded Tories.

  19. Its not the traffic during development that people are worried about but the 24/7 deliveries and constant flow of customers cars. Tesco may be the only show in town for Arlington developmnt but the consequence could be that it will be the only shop left in that part of town.
    Tony, maybe you can give us examples of buildings that would be acceptable to you. For example could it be similar to the Turner or what about the new Tesco at Gerrards Cross which has a grand but modern entrance.

  20. The site has been an eyesore in front of the station, at gateway to Margate and on the seafront, that is what TDC said of the site in 1963 as a justification to build Arlington. Today, the same reasons are being used to justify placing an 82,000 square foot Tesco designed for an out of town industrial estate and outline planning permission for a hotel which no one intends to build. The outline permission will lead to the demolition of the existing structures (to avoid business rates) leaving a derelict boarded-up site, as they had in 1963.

    If TDC enforced the terms of their lease and made Freshwater (who can certainly afford it as 52nd in the times rich list) keep the car park open, the shops and building properly maintained, we wouldn't be under pressure to do anything.

    Turner Contemporary has shown that if you do the right things, people will come to Margate. We now need to believe in Dreamland. The back of an industrial shed isn't going to form a great backdrop.

    The Jacobs plans, commissioned and approved by KCC, through months of consultation and based on TDC's approved regeneration documents show a seafront with wide pavements and reduced traffic. This would make a pedestrian friendly seafront where the failing arcades could develop into thriving businesses as the visitors parked at Arlington walk to Dreamland, the old town and the turner. Instead we get a seafront improved for cars and lorries.

    There are better options for the town. An 82,000 superstore will hinder, not help regeneration of that end of town.

  21. Michael,
    I wrote the 209 comment.
    If you look at the planning application (F/TH/10/1061), the only drawings showing the relationship between Dreamland site and the Tesco/Arlington site are the sections:

    080417-A-P-Si D112,
    080417-A-P-Si D112A
    080417-A-P-Si D124

    The ground level on the drawings extends into the Arlington site as though it were at the same level. Actually the Dreamland site is nearly 4 m lower. Anyone familiar with Dreamland knows you go down a steep slope from the seafront, while arlington access is level. The minimum difference is at the front/marine Parade where it is 2.85m

    Showing the context of the adjacent site is mandatory - even more so, if listed buildings are involved.

    This would indeed make the Tesco store 4 meters higher than in the drawing in relation to the Dreamland site.

    Asked about this, the planning department say:

    "The drawings are of the proposed store building, not the ground level outside the application site."

    In other words, the representation of the proposal's context does not match the reality, and anything outside the boundary of the proposal is not to be looked at.

  22. "I suggest the people of Margate boycott Tesco."

    Sounds good to me Tony. There is more to this affair than meets the eye.

    Why should our loving government want small traders out of the way? Why would they want a food monopoly?

    Ian R. Crane answers those questions HERE

  23. Once again Mr. Conspiracy kills off the debate. The government are seeking to monopolize food sales through outlets like Tesco so they can more control the masses. Behave or we will cut off your baked beans!

    Would not mind betting that Goldman Sachs and the parasites are in the plot somewhere.

    I suppose it brings a smile in an otherwise rather grey world. So thanks for that at least RC.

  24. It's called freedom of speech 11:01, get used to it, fool.

  25. Naughty name calling does not become you, RC. Trouble with your freedom of speech is it tends to kill off evbery one elses!

  26. Conspiracy theorist accuses RC of being a conspiracy theorist. That can't be a coincidence.

  27. No, probably RC talking to himself, or the trees, again.