Trouble in store as crunch Tesco meeting moved

TESCO MILNGAVIE 1.12.09 PICTURE BY JAMIE FORBES
TESCO MILNGAVIE 1.12.09 PICTURE BY JAMIE FORBES

CAMPAIGNERS who oppose plans by Tesco to build a huge new superstore in Milngavie are angry that the public Hearing is NOT going to be held in the town.

Politicians are also concerned about the change of venue as it had been agreed that the best place for it to be held was Milngavie Town Hall.

The public local inquiry for Tesco’s appeal against refusal of planning permission for the new store is due to start on February 1 and according to an advertisement in last week’s issue of Milngavie and Bearsden Herald it will now be held in Kessington Hall, Bearsden.

The Director of Planning and Environment Appeals (DPEA) is responsible for booking the venue on behalf of the council and they attempted to get Milngavie Town Hall but were refused due to a prior let.

Eve Gilmore from the campaign group We Like Milngavie, which has raised concerns about the scale of the new store from the outset, claiming that it may take custom away from local businesses, said: “We are disappointed that Kessington is being considered as the venue as it is obviously more difficult for local people to attend the meeting.”

Provost Eric Gotts said: “I have been told that there is a letting clash in Milngavie Town Hall but the council should have letting priority - are they implementing this policy?

“If the town hall isn’t available they could hold it in the community education centre in Milngavie instead.

“Milngavie is far more convenient for people, many people from Milngavie are very concerned about this application and they expect the hearing to be held there.

“There is also a problem with parking at Kessington hall.

“Also, why did we hear about the change of venue for the first time through an advertisement in the Milngavie and Bearsden Herald? There was no consultation with the public.

“If less people attend a Hearing in Bearsden that may affect the outcome.”

Local MP Jo Swinson added: “It is very disappointing if the inquiry cannot take place in Milngavie.

“I hope council officials will investigate why the booking made at Milngavie Town Hall fell through, and whether there is any scope to relocate the inquiry to Milngavie even at this late stage.”

The Hearing is expected to last for about seven days.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “After discussions with the local authority it emerged that the town hall was not available. The Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals moved quickly to find a suitable alternative - both in terms of access and value for money - and advised all parties of the arrangements.”