Tesco vows to support Moorland Road shops
Tesco has offered to help promote a shopping area which could lose business if the retail giant is allowed to open a new superstore in Bath.
The firm and its development partner St James's Investments is offering an olive branch to traders in Moorland Road, amid fears that businesses could go under should the £50 million transformation of the Bath Press site go ahead.
Tesco and SJI's communications consultants Meeting Place have met representatives of the former Moorland Road Association to discuss ways of helping the shopping street promote itself with new branding.
Among the chief concerns of council planners weighing up the scheme, which also includes creative workshops, offices and homes, is the impact a new Tesco could have on the Co-op in Shaftesbury Road.
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The firms involved in the Bath Press scheme have offered to help develop new marketing for Moorland Road, where there are shops such as a traditional butchers, greengrocers and a DIY store, as well as a bookshop and cafe, with the possibility of a logo being created.
SJI director Christopher Borkowski said: "We want to put Moorland Road in people's minds. It is a unique place with its own environment and its own offer."
Former association chairman David Pye, who runs the This'n'That gift store, attended the meeting.
He said: "I put forward that, if anything went ahead at the Bath Press site, we would want them to invest heavily in signing to point people towards local shops, advertising in the media, and advertising within their premises as well."
Mr Pye said there was the possibility of people from further afield using a new Tesco being redirected to Moorland Road.
The planning application for the scheme has been deferred by Bath and North East Somerset Council to give its planners time to digest new information about traffic flows.
SJI and Tesco said they were disappointed and frustrated at the delay in a decision over the plans, which they say would create 600 jobs.
The firms said there is now a solution to the stumbling block presented by Health and Safety Executive concerns over the gasholder at Windsor Bridge.
While the structure is in place, the HSE objects to new development at the Bath Press site, even though it is a previously used location.
But the Government watchdog has agreed to lift its objections if there is an agreement to decommission the 1920s tower.