13 Aug 2009

Don't underestimate Tesco

Good news that the council's future plans state that the London Road site is not suitable for a supermarket. A few houses or a primary school would be better.

And that's good reason to raise a small cheer. But only a small one.

Just because we haven't heard from Tesco for a while, doesn't meant they won't be back. This is the company that now makes £1billion a week. They can afford to bide their time until they are ready for their next assault.

I would love to be proved wrong on this. I would love Tesco to say, do you know what, it's unfair that we as a massive multinational can build what the hell we like, regardless of local opinion, just because the local council has less money for appeals than we take in an hour.

A stronger hope for St Albans is that the company simply finds another, easier, more profitable site in some other poor town, and decides to let our site go.

But it's the planning system that's at fault. There's not much the local council can do about that. That's a national issue about local communities having a genuine say about commercial developments in their area.

At the moment, unfortunately, the government is moving in precisely the opposite direction, removing planning restrictions on large commercial developments and weakening the appeal system.

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