Supermarket car park held utilitarian

Tesco has lost an appeal to retain a temporary decked car park at a store in Merthyr Tydfil following a ruling that it caused substantial harm to the area's character and appearance.

The structure, which provided 94 spaces, had been built to relieve parking pressure during the 2006 Christmas period. It comprised closely-spaced steel stanchions on adjustable bases supporting a metal deck. Neither party disputed that it was utilitarian and unattractive. The inspector remarked that it created a very poor impression in an area otherwise characterised by well-designed and attractive new development.

He reasoned that drivers unable to find a space in the Tesco car park would be likely to park elsewhere in the town centre. He also noted that the council opens up other car parks and provides shoppers' buses over the Christmas period. On that basis, he concluded that removal of the deck would have no significant effect on the vitality, viability or attractiveness of the town centre.

The inspector recognised that the principle of providing more permanent parking spaces on the site had been accepted when the council resolved to approve a permanent decked car park. However, he gave little weight to the company's argument that the temporary deck should be retained to enable construction of the permanent deck because it was uncertain that the latter would be built.

DCS Number 100-050-845

Inspector Andrew Poulter; Hearing.

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