proposed expansion will kill off the town centre?
10th March 2010
Friday 19th February, I went along to the Tesco
superstore in Burgess Hill to view the plans
of their proposed 50% expansion.
Tesco plan to expand in
size mainly to the right of the building with
parking spaces being built on the piece of
wasteland that splits the store from a housing
estate. This piece of land could also be the
site for the Burgess Hill Baptist Church;
they are looking to move from their current
location in Station Road.
The increase in size will
see Tesco stocking a much wider range of goods
including technology equipment and clothing.
Tesco's planned growth
will see it become almost a 'one stop shop',
convenient for shoppers, but will it be to
the detriment of the town centre?
Shops such as WHSmith,
Currys, Peacocks could all suffer a loss in
trade if shoppers can find the similar items
in Tesco for a cheaper price.
I asked one of the representatives
at the planning exhibition about the potential
impact on the town centre; I was told that
a bigger Tesco would benefit the local economy
as it would lessen the need for people to
travel to Brighton and Crawley to do their
A bigger Tesco will create
100 full-time and part-time jobs. Will staff
from town centre shops that are forced to
close due to Tesco's dominance fill some of
these new job opportunities?
There are two designs
that Tesco were asking shoppers to state their
Option 1 is simply an extended version of
the existing building, sporting the same tiled
roof. Option 2 features a framework of big
glass panels and a flat roof.
I spoke to a different
representative about the two options, I pointed
out that clearly Option 1 would be more popular
as it fits in with the surrounding residential
buildings but that Tesco would blatantly choose
Option 2 as it would be cheaper to make.
The spokesman confirmed
that Option 1 had proved to be the most popular
decision so far and denied that Option 2 would
be cheaper to make. He said that Option 2
would be quicker to construct as it doesn't
require a complex roof, additionally, the
glass panels can be reused.
A building that would
be quicker to make would clearly result in
lower labour costs. Reusable materials would
also represent a saving. Which option do you
think Tesco would prefer to construct? Here's
a clue, it's not number one!
Another media outlet incorrectly
reported that Tesco would be building the
new Baptist Church. I spoke to a member of
the Burgess Hill Baptist Church at Tesco.
He told me that the only connection with Tesco
is that they would let the Church use their
car park. Additionally, the Church may use
the same construction company in order to
save on costs.
What this means is that
106 obligation has not yet been identified.
It's up to Mid Sussex District Council to
choose how Tesco can benefit the town.
How about a new paddling
pool in St Johns Park?
Of course, none of this
is ever going to happen.
Mid Sussex District Council have the final
say on whether Tesco can expand or not.
If the feared exodus from the town centre
has some substance, then the council will
clearly deny Tesco planning permission.
If people don't shop in
the town centre, then the council will lose
out on a huge source of income - the car parks.
The Conservative run council have had some
high profile gaffs with public money and need
the car park revenue to bump up their coffers.
Lets not also forget MSDC's
'Support the local traders' campaign. They
have been urging the public to shop locally,
conveniently that requires you to use their
car parks in the process.
We'll soon find out how
much MSDC really care about the local retailers
when the decision day for Tesco's expansion
They wouldn't be so stupid
as to rubberstamp Tesco's planning application,