Tuesday, April 4, 2017

News: Council stands up to Tesco in parking row

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RiDO, the regeneration arm of Rotherham Council, has warned that new proposed parking restrictions at the Tesco Extra store in Rotherham will reduce footfall and discourage shoppers who visit the store from also visiting the town centre.

Council transport officers have raised concerns over the restrictions increasing the number of vehicle trips to the site substantially, and want to know what mitigation is proposed.

Rothbiz reported first that the largest retailer in the UK intends to introduce restrictions at its £40m Rotherham Extra store at Drummond Street.

The national retailer's planning application seeks a variation over a planning condition inserted by Rotherham Council when the planning application for the 110,000 sq ft superstore was approved in 2012.

Tesco needs the approval if it is to introduce a system that would allow shoppers to continue to park for up to three hours, as is the case now, but only if they spend over £5 in store and validate their parking.

Validation machines have already been installed in store and the new restrictions are being advertised as "coming soon."

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A representation from RiDO states that Tesco's expansion from Forge Island has "generally had a positive impact on the town centre" but the impact of the new restrictions could be negative.

The RiDO response reads: "As part of Tesco's approved planning application, one of the conditions was to provide at least 2 hours free parking for customers and non-customers of the store. This has ensured a sustainable turnover of parking spaces, allowing shoppers to enjoy linked trips to both Tesco and the town centre. By removing this option, there is a high risk of negatively impacting on footfall, and discouraging shoppers who visit the store from also visiting the town centre.

"Feedback from businesses and shoppers has identified the important role parking plays in attracting footfall to the town centre, in particular the location and availability of free parking, which acts as a major draw and encourages additional visits.

"Following consultation with the Market Service Committee, members have unanimously objected to the planning application on the grounds that they believe this will drive customers away from the markets complex and damage town centre footfall as a whole."

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Under the plans, shoppers wanting to use the 600 space car park, but not the Tesco store, will only be given 30 minutes to head into town before leaving the site.

Those wanting to use the car park will still be able to visit the rest of the town centre in their three hours, so long as they spend £5 at Tesco and validate their parking.

Ian Ferguson, senior highway development control officer at Rotherham Council, has asked Tesco for a full assessment of the highway / transportation implications of the proposal, stating that: "If the use of the parking is substantially changed by removing the free parking, then the number of trips in total will increase, invalidating the underlying assumptions presented in the [2012] transport assessment. Fundamental changes to the trip assumptions therefore require a reassessment of the transport impact and any additional trips mitigated."

The representation also adds that the Council's Travel Plan Officer has had no communication with Tesco since the travel plan, which is founded on the reduction of single occupancy vehicle trips, was submitted.
Montagu Evans, consultants for Tesco, state that the retailer is "finding that their car park is coming under considerable pressure and is being used by non-Tesco customers, detracting from the attractiveness of the store as a main food shopping location, and in turn impacting on its trading performance."

The reply to the transport comments states that they "consider that the use of the car park will not change substantially, and that the minimum spend will enhance the attractiveness of the store by providing more spaces for Tesco shoppers who may also in turn use Town Centre facilities during their visit."

The applicants add: "We would also note that the implementation of the proposed parking controls could potentially result in increased patronage of other town centre parking facilities as non-Tesco shoppers seek to use other Council run pay and display facilities. We therefore do not consider that the effect of these changes will be to increase the number of trips and invalidate the assumptions presented in the transport assessment."

Images: TCN / Google Maps


2 comments:

Anonymous,  April 4, 2017 at 12:42 PM  

Parking restrictions should be for the covered Area of the carpark with a ticket barrier on both the entrance/exit of the covered area only.Also stop people using the electric hook up area that dont have a electric car they no who they are.

Mr me April 5, 2017 at 4:28 PM  

If council is so concerned about parking,then why dont they introduce free parking on council owned sites,instead of asking a,private company to provide free parking.We pay council tax to RMBC,not Tesco !

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