Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Residents say "No! to Tesco!"

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.


  1. the council is not facing the real issue.
    arlington house is an ugly eyesore that ruins margate seafront, and should be demolished, THEN we can have a debate about what should replace it

  2. I agree, it needs to be demolished, if Tesco want to be there make them pay otherwise they should go into the main town.

  3. Arlington is a great building - well-built, good layout, unique iconic 60's. The slanted bays not only give a stylish look but allow the superb views to really be part of each flat.

    It looks tatty mostly because of the mottely curtains (some quite tattered) and the empty units underneath. The temporary and unnecessary fencing around the car-park is a recent addition to the ugliness, as are the tatty "Say No2 Tesco" placards in a few of the windows (in contravention of the leases, no doubt).

    Yes, the concrete panels are grey and streaky - but weathered concrete is a 60's style and the London Barbican flats spent a fortune and oodles of manpower to achieve that effect. Cleaning experiments round the back have proved to be a temporary respite - perhaps illuminating them at night with pretty colours might prove more popular?

    The design for Tesco is hardly going to be attractive - but as long as it meets the requirements of the council's Planning Brief, should be a bigger asset than an empty car-park.

    The accusation that Tesco will kill of the town centre is irrelevant - you can't kill something that's already dead.

    The main gripe from the residents association (coincidentally in this case this appears to reflect the residents' views) seems to be the head-leasholder's attempts to shove the cost onto the residents to the tune of £17000 per flat (starting point only). This is covered in the Planning Brief but do the council have the bottle to follow through what they spent thousands specifying?