Tesco gets approval for expanded store in Weston
A scheme that will allow the expansion of the Tesco supermarket in Weston has finally been approved.
Now local councillor Colin Barrett says he wants to work with the firm to minimise the parking problems resulting from the development, which will also see flats created above the shop.
The decision had already been delayed until councillors had been on a site visit, to assess concerns from residents about parking and the impact on smaller businesses.
Nine councillors voted to give the plans the go-ahead, while three were against the idea, which had been recommended for approval by planning officials.
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Councillor Eleanor Jackson (Lab, Radstock) told Bath and North East Somerset Council's development control committee she had been struck by the ugliness of the existing car park and building.
"This seems to be to be a development that will enhance the conservation area of Weston."
The scheme has proved controversial, with some residents arguing there is not enough parking for a larger supermarket and others expressing concerns that it will harm the smaller businesses on the High Street.
It would more than double the size of the shop, and create six two-bedroom flats, but reduce the number of car parking spaces from 24 to 15.
Councillor Martin Veal (Con, Bathavon North) expressed concerns over parking, and said the car park would be overwhelmed.
"Enlarge this facility and it will blight the village of Weston forever."
Mr Barrett (Con, Weston), and resident Georgina Clampett-Dix spoke against the plans, and a petition with 500 signatures on it opposing the scheme had been presented.
He said: "I'm naturally very disappointed with this decision as I believed we had some very strong arguments against the plans as they stand. The situation we will now have is a much larger store attracting more shoppers from further afield, plus new flats, but with fewer parking spaces available. I will be working with Tesco and the developer to see if anything can be done to mitigate the impact this will have."
Geoff Richards, agent for the developers Bath Weston One, shrugged off the parking fears.
He told councillors: "This is not a public car park, and it does not fall on my clients to provide parking for people using the High Street.
"Rather than increasing the number of shoppers by increasing the shop our research has shown that it will just change the nature of their shop."