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Tesco (and Cricket) v Those Who Are Alarmed by Superstores

D-Day in Stretford: Thursday 11 March, 6.30pm. Legal bribes and NIMBYS

Published on March 10th 2010.

Tesco (and Cricket) v Those Who Are Alarmed by Superstores

We're getting loads of emails a day on an upcoming Stretford planning decision.

They feel that Tesco, LCCC and Trafford MBC are tying planning permission in with an unrelated argument about international cricket. So not only does granting planning permission break established rules but appears to be tied in with what amounts to a legal bribe.

Tesco want to build a vast store between Stretford Leisure Centre and the Town Hall. Tesco will pay £21 million for the Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council site: money which will then be used to help return Lancashire County Cricket Club's Old Trafford ground to international status.

The pro side sent us this email today cunningly mentioning the larger masterplan but not the Tesco application it hinges upon:

'At a 6.30pm meeting at Trafford Town Hall on Thursday 11 March, Trafford Council will make a decision on whether to approve the Old Trafford Partnership’s planning application to redevelop Old Trafford cricket ground and the surrounding area. If approved, the scheme will secure the future of international cricket in the North West, and deliver hundreds of jobs and millions of pounds into the local economy.'

They're asking people to come down from 5.30pm to interview and photograph, 'supporters including local residents and businesses, cricket enthusiasts, current LCCC cricketers, LCCC club mascot ‘Lanky’, LCCC Chief Exec Jim Cumbes, and more who, 'will be marching from Old Trafford cricket ground to Trafford Town Hall'.

The anti side sent us this email which they'd banged off to their supporters.'This is an urgent plea for as many of you as possible to join us on Thursday from 5.30pm at Trafford Town Hall, Talbot Road, Stretford. It is really important that you come if you can and encourage others to do so..... (We) will bring along all the NoMegaTesco placards we used last time - and if anyone can make their own and bring them along that would be great. Many thanks - our community and its future matters!'

Crikey it could kick-off over a planning application.

We trust not.

The No Mega Tesco for Stretford group have a point though.

As we've already stated on this site, they are particularly aggrieved that while planning permission for a 48,000 sq ft store on the same site was granted previously, in 2006 permission to increase it to 88,000 sq ft was refused. Yet now the Council are backing a store of more than 100,000 sq ft, which the protesters believe would shut down Streford Mall, ruin the few shops in Gorse Hill, hit Ayres Road shopping in Old Trafford and mangle the independents in Chorlton.

Where Tesco will fit - circled

That an 88,000 sq ft can be turned down but a much bigger one promoted doesn’t appear to make any sense to the anti campaign, unless you factor in emotional blackmail. In other words they feel that Tesco, LCCC and Trafford MBC are tying planning permission in with an unrelated argument about international cricket. So not only does granting planning permission break established rules but appears to be nothing more than a legal bribe.

The waters have also been muddied by a counter application from Sainsbury's for a 75,000 sq ft store at nearby White City Retail Park. As the anti group point out this application has 'been refused because its 'out of centre' but the Tesco is good to go because (despite being 'out of centre') it's so big that it can't fit anywhere else.'

These are all good points.

But realpolitik is the best measure here.

The questions we should be asking are strategic ones.

Will a successful destination supermarket and a revitalised cricket ground be better long-term for Stretford, Gorse Hill and Old Trafford, than the crumbling edifices of the Stretford Mall and the present LCCC? Would they increase prestige, boost image and bring in more jobs? What's the big picture in an age where we've, as a country, already allowed scores of ridiculously sized stores from various companies to be built all over the place?

At Confidential the answer is obvious.

The big picture wins.

Build the store, improve LCCC, give the residents the excitement change brings whilst ensuring the city region maintains all its international sporting choices. We'll be marching with the club to Streford Town Hall.

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousMarch 11th 2010.

Stretford residents would be much more excited if Trafford Council had spent its energies helping develop a new community focused Stretford Town Centre to replace the brutally ugly and emptying Stretford Mall.

Instead, this ill advised Tesco/LCCC scheme will make the chances of future re-development less likely. The death of a town centre and its impact on the community should also be part of the big picture.

CivisMarch 11th 2010.

The town centre's already gone, destroyed when the Mall swept away the old street pattern. There's no chance of a new viable centre with the present situation. Bringing back streets open to the sky is the only way this can happen. Maybe the Tesco can be used to create an Old Trafford centre. The Tesco is good for the area generally I reckon.

Christopher BryanMarch 11th 2010.

shame on you ManCon.

If this LCCC development helps the bigger picture and the city region approach then get the Gtr Manchester authorities and players to invest the money in it. Are we saying that the only way that regeneration and development can happen in the 21st century is if the scheme is piggy-backing on a new supermarket?

I'm all for LCCC improving their facilities but let them invest themselves if they think it can work (they are a business). Or get the authorities to support as a partnership.

Shame on the city region approach if it isn't able to make things happen without supermarkets and shame on Mancon for your support.

Rebecca JamesMarch 11th 2010.

It's capitalism CB. The way of the western world. Why not let private enterprise help bankroll the improvements to the club: are you seriously saying that council tax-payers should pay for this.

AgricolaMarch 11th 2010.

I love how people say Shame on You when they mean I don't agree with you.

Alistair19911March 11th 2010.

What's so bad about Tescos anyway? lol

AnonymousMarch 11th 2010.

Will Mancon's owner and his Editor (and his mum) shop in the proposed Tesco (or go to the cricket?) Will shoppers get free entry to the (Old Trafford renamed Tesco?) Ground? and will they find a Tesco there? A 100000 sq ft store is a Walmart /Asda type operation which was appropriate at Sports City but we will see the effect of that store on whether Higher Openshaw Shopping Parade works.

Mike BroomheadMarch 11th 2010.

Shame on you because you've mixed 2 things that aren't the same. There are plenty of ways of funding LCCC improvement. Example Sainsbury's said they wanted White City to contribute but haven't been considered. A 50-70,000 Sq Foot Tesco should be able to raise the same amount of money; the proposed size is obscene.

Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 11th 2010.

I tend to visit supermarkets once every three weeks max so I probably will shop there - especially as I live in Old Trafford. My mum won't be shopping there because she's got altzheimers. Whether the store is 70,000 or 100,000 sq ft is immaterial to me. Certainly Gorse Hill and Stretford needs some modern retail. Old Trafford's got Ayres Road and then there's Chorlton, we'll have to see what happens there if permission is granted. But I use Frosts butchers and I won't be changing from going there because usually Tesco meat is poor. But I will be queuing up for Ashes tickets if we get it back.

Christopher BryanMarch 13th 2010.

Rebecca James.

I was calling for a more considered approach. My post did suggest private investment - from LCCC. Even so, council tax has funded loads of sports initiatives - it's nothing new. Look at the Commonwealth Games (Eastlands, Aquatic Centre etc etc).


I'm glad you 'love it'. Are you from an episode of Friends? I meant shame on you because ManCon claims to have some sort of political nous but are supporting this development blackmail from LCCC and Trafford Council.

D KesslerJuly 14th 2010.

Give Trafford what they need: an identity. I know people who live in Firswood and claim its Chorlton... that's rediculous!

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