Campaigners against a proposed new Tesco store in Margate packed a meeting at a local church hall on Monday evening (28th June 2010).
The gathering was hosted by Arlington House Residents Association who are unhappy about redevelopment plans which will see them losing their car park and flat owners having to foot a bill of £17.000 each. The multi-million pound scheme would see the demolition of a derelict public car park and shops on the controversial Arlington site on Margate seafront.
Association Chairman, Ron Greene, told the assembled crowd that neither property developers Freshwater nor Tesco had provided answers to questions raised during public consultations three months ago. He added, “Research has shown that surrounding property prices go down when a Tesco store is built in a residential area”.
Ward Councillor Iris Johnston and Council planning officer Doug Brown fielded a barrage of questions from local residents and businesses. Arlington House residents also questioned the Councils right to agree to the demolition of the existing residents car park.
Concerned locals also heard from Ron Greene that plans to redevelop the whole of the site had been shelved. “Freshwater are only going for full planning permission for Tesco to go on the car park site”, he said, “The proposed shops, hotel and doctors surgery will only be subjected to outline planning permission as there are no takers for those units. This means that the seaside frontage could remain boarded up for years to come”,
Councillor Iris Johnson called for a show of hands to indicate those in favour of a new Tesco and those against. The vote was unanimously against the Tesco development. After the meeting Ron Green said, “It is clear that the people of Margate do not want another Tesco superstore. I was initially in favour a scheme that would see the derelict site regenerated and the exterior of Arlington House improved. However, I now believe that a store of the proposed size will be detrimental for local residents and existing businesses in Margate. Kent County Council statistics reveal that 20,000 cars a day pass along the seafront at present. That number will obviously increase with the opening of the Turner Centre and Dreamland Heritage Park. The further addition of a 24 hour Tesco superstore will likely cause traffic gridlock at the Station Roundabout due to customer traffic and delivery lorries. If the Council does give the go-ahead for Tesco, I am asking that planning conditions be imposed to restrict the hours for opening and deliveries and that adequate sound insulation be provided to Arlington House at the expense of the developer”.
Please contact Residents Association Ron Greene on 07754 588193 for further comments, interview or photo opportunities.