Tesco wins Bristol riot store legal battle

A judge has dismissed a legal challenge against supermarket giant Tesco's opening of a store in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol.

Tesco Express: store opening sparked violence
Tesco Express: store opening sparked violence
Objectors to the supermarket's presence on Cheltenham Road said the "standardised" store would conflict with the area's ethos and the scores of deliveries it needed each week into Picton lane would be "inappropriate and dangerous".
 
Mr Justice Ouseley told the High Court that Tesco's announcement of its its plans in January last year to put a "Tesco Express" on the site of a former comedy club "aroused considerable, indeed at times riotous, local hostility". Last summer, violence flared in the area following the store's opening.
 
He said planning consent for retail development of the site, granted in 2009, was never challenged and ferocious objections only began after the developer was revealed as Tesco and the "No to Tesco in Stokes Croft Campaign" was born.
 
At the High Court, local objector, Rachael Bibb, challenged the city council's development control committee's decision last December - by a narrow majority of four votes to three - to open the way for Tesco to install a fully equipped service yard off Picton Lane.
 
Without that, the store could not have opened in the "Tesco Express" format and objectors argued that over 40 deliveries per week into Picton Lane would cause unacceptable noise and disturbance and would be actively "dangerous".
 
They said a Tesco Express would be "at odds with the ethos of all other businesses in the area" but an officer who advised the council committee described the "ideological" objections as being targeted at Tesco itself.
 
Dismissing Bibb's challenge, Mr Justice Ouseley said councillors were advised that services to the store had been approved in 2009 and delivery van movements could be "controlled acceptably".
 
The committee was told the fact the developer was Tesco was "irrelevant" to the planning issues and "added nothing" to the debate over acceptable use of the site.
 
Evidence put forward about the "incremental impact" of deliveries to the store was "flawed", said the judge, who added that even the objectors' lawyers did not contend that "some elaborate traffic impact assessment" was called for.
 
Assumptions that a less than 10 per cent increase in the store's floor space would necessarily mean 10 per cent more deliveries were "bold, even irrational", he added.
 
"The extra deliveries could not exceed more than 4.2 extra deliveries in a seven-day week, or less than one extra delivery a day, on a road with 20,000 vehicles passing in 12 daytime hours," added the judge, throwing out Bibb's judicial review challenge.


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