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Tesco slammed for failing to warn of new Brentwood store plan

By Brentwood Gazette  |  Posted: June 27, 2012

Phil Taylor

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TESCO has been accused of bare-faced arrogance after dumping a large store amid a densely packed residential area without any notice or warning.

Not one letter has been delivered to residents or businesses nearby advising them that the former Woodpecker pub, on the corner of Hanging Hill Lane and Hutton Drive, is soon to be converted to a Tesco.

The extra volume of traffic the new store will place on the surrounding infrastructure is causing major concern.

And the plans, which do not require planning permission, could spell disaster for shops along the parade in Rayleigh Road, which rely largely on trade coming from householders living near the former pub and restaurant.

Among them is Lords Newsagents, which was taken over by the Taylor family 25 years ago.

A newsagents has been on the site for more than 50 years.

Phil Taylor, 45, whose father Peter started the business, said: "Until it opens, we don't know how it's going to affect us, but the worse case is we close down.

"The worry is that there is not enough trade to share among everyone. They will be selling everything that we sell here, but they'll be able to get it while they do their shop.

"A lot of people will have to walk past the store to get here. They might say now they will walk past, but I don't think they will. Who walks further than they need to?"

Residents first heard about the plans was when 12-foot high hoardings painted in the unmistakable Tesco blue appeared over the weekend.

The junction is already regarded as a major accident black spot and a dangerous crossing for the droves of schoolchildren from surrounding schools

Scores of students from St Martin's School in Hanging Hill Lane, Willowbrook Primary School in Rosen Crescent, All Saints' Primary School in Claughton Way and St Joseph The Worker Catholic Primary School in Highview Crescent walk past it every morning and afternoon.

John Perham, 61, from Coleridge Walk, said: "The fact is that Tesco has ridden roughshod over people in the area by using all their money and muscle."

Hilary Cockle, 79, who has lived with husband Mike, 80, for the past 54 years in Coleridge Walk, said: "I'm horrified. My biggest worry is for the safety of the schoolchildren – the traffic is going to be horrendous when the store goes in."

A Brentwood Borough Council spokesman said that because the plans were for the conversion of a public house to A1 retail, Tesco was not required to inform them of the plans.

A spokesman said: "We believe this is an excellent location and opportunity to bring back this vacant pub site into a beneficial use, bring more choice to the area and create new jobs. We build stores where we think they will be busy and popular, and our Express stores are particularly popular with the elderly, people without transport and busy parents. We will start our public consultation shortly to get people's views before we submit any applications."

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