Posts Tagged ‘Tesco’

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TESNO: Supermarket Giant Pulls Out Of Ashton Gate Deal

October 27, 2009

There will be no Tesco superstore on the site of Bristol City’s Ashton Gate stadium.

The supermarket giant has confirmed it has pulled out of a proposed deal with the club. The news follows newspaper reports at the weekend the club was now in talks with Sainsbury’s.

In a statement, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager Juliette Bishop told Jones The News: “We are always on the look out for possible sites all over the country and the possibility of a new Tesco store at Ashton Gate was one such site.

“We were interested in the Club’s proposals should they get outline planning consent for a food store next month. Inevitably, not all of these projects move ahead to implementation.

“Having considered the Ashton Gate project at length, Tesco has withdrawn its participation from the scheme.”

“We wish the Club well in its ongoing efforts to deliver a new stadium and good luck to Bristol with its bid to be a 2018 World Cup Host City.”

Despite Tesco’s withdrawal, the club is still believed to be in talks with Sainsbury’s, though has refused to comment while negotiations are still taking place.

Bristol City Chief Executive Colin Sexstone said today: “There is no comment I can make. But we are continuing to push forward with a food store application for this site.

“At the moment that is the only way we can find to raise the sort of money we need to build a stadium. If we can’t raise that money, the whole project becomes unviable.”

Tom Griffin, a spokesman for anti-Tesco campaign group BERATE, said: “We just have to wait and see what will be applied for.

“Any new application could conceivably be a benefit but equally it could be as bad as having two individual stores, depending on the scale of the development.

“At this moment, we can’t comment on how we feel about it until we know what the plans will be.”

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Minister Must Rubber-Stamp Tesco Plan

October 4, 2009

Any decision to fund the new Bristol City stadium by building a Tesco store at Ashton Gate must be rubber-stamped by planning minister John Healey, it has emerged.

Bristol’s council bosses have decided to refer the decision to the government for scrutiny, if local councillors approve the plans.

A council spokeswoman told Jones The News it was “standard practice” for councils to refer decisions this big and this controversial to government planners for checking.

In the case of the proposed stadium, it is because granting permission would break the council’s own planning guidelines, known as the ‘Local Plan’.

Artists Impression of new stadium and (inset) John Healey

Artist's Impression of new stadium and (inset) John Healey

Bristol councillors will rule on the Tesco and stadium plans on November 4th and 5th respectively.

If they are “minded to approve” them, they will be sent to the Government Office for the South West (GOSW), whose guidance must be approved by Mr Healey.

A verdict of “minded to approve” would be enough for Bristol to be considered as a World Cup host city, when the city hands in its final bid on November 6th.

Referring the plan to GOSW does not mean it is being “called-in” and subject to a public inquiry, but it is likely to make it more difficult for campaigners to appeal against the decision.

It also means the final word on the plans will not be made in Bristol.

A GOSW spokeswoman said it was hard to say how long scrutinising the plans would take, but that it was likely to take “months”. She added there was no time limit on how long they could take.

Pictured: artist’s impression of the new stadium and (inset) planning minister John Healey

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Ashton Gate Tesco Plan “Is No Stitch-Up”

September 14, 2009

The councillor in charge of Bristol’s world cup bid has denied the council is “stitching up” the deal to build a Tesco on the site of Bristol City’s Ashton Gate stadium.

It’s after The Bristol Blogger revealed last week that the council owns nearly 20% of the land the club wants to sell to Tesco.

Critics claim, as a result, the council would be unable to make a fair decision on the controversial planning application.

Bristol City FC claims it is “essential” for it to sell the land to the supermarket giant to build its new stadium at Ashton Vale and bid to become a world cup host city in 2018.

But council Deputy Leader Simon Cook told Jones The News it was “absolutely wrong” to suggest the council could not make an independent decision.

He said: “On the face of it, it looks like the city council is stitching up its own planning wishes. But it is not, and it would be entirely illegal if that were to happen. We don’t do it.

“The city council owns 40% of the land in the city so we have to grant planning permission for our own projects all the time. We did it with the Colston Hall, the Museum of Bristol, a raft of schools in the area and several leisure centres.”

Mr Cook also again insisted the planning decision would be made independently of political considerations.

He said: “It’s a planning decision pure and simple. It will be considered under planning law, and will be entirely independent. It is not the intention of the city council to influence that. That would be illegal.”

But a campaigner from anti-Tesco group BERATE claims the value of the council’s land at Ashton Gate means selling it must be a political decision.

The law states any decision to sell land valued at more than £500,000 must be taken by senior councillors, and with the council owning 20% of the Ashton Gate land – valued at £20m – it appears to be worth at least £4m.

Chris Uttley said: “It would seem hard for the public authority to sell that land without it being a political decision.

“Even if planning permission is granted, without that land the development can’t occur. It seems to be some sort of political decision to renegotiate the lease or sell it to the football club.

“Simon Cook is choosing his words carefully. The decision to grant planning permission should be an independent one.

“But the decision about whether to sell the land isn’t a planning issue. It must be, partly at least, a political decision.”

Ashton Gate Tesco Plan “Is No Stitch-Up”
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Tesco Plan “Essential” For New City Stadium

August 18, 2009

Bristol City FC Chief Executive Colin Sexstone claims getting planning permission to sell Ashton Gate to Tesco is “essential” to the club building its new stadium at Ashton Vale.

He describes alternative plans for Ashton Gate as “laudable” but says no realistic alternatives have been put forward.

His comments come as the club formally submits its planning application to Bristol City Council, which it did on Monday.

Citys stadium plans

City's stadium plans

He told Jones The News: “Stadiums are expensive beasts, and it appears there is no public money available for this – as there might be on the continent. So it must be funded by Bristol City.

“The only asset we have is Ashton Gate, and we must raise as much money as we can. The difference between using this for food retail and a mixed use site could be as much as fifteen million pounds.

“If someone else can suggest how we could raise that money, we’re all ears. But no-one has suggested anything else as yet.”

The plans have only been submitted as outlines at the moment, but it’s thought the proposed store could be as big as 8,400 sq metres, about a third bigger than the nearby ASDA store in Bedminster. Tesco also estimates the supermarket would see a car arriving approximately every five seconds.

Colin Sexstone does not believe any alternative uses suggested for the site, such as housing or sports facilities, are feasible.

He added: “Unless someone can raise the money, they’re not feasible. If Bristol City Council want to raise £20m or so they can do what they like with it.

“But none of the suggestions that have been made – laudable though they are – can help us build the new stadium. The new stadium will be a fantastic community facility.

“The alternative is that, if we don’t raise that money, we will stay where we are.”

Campaign group BERATE, who oppose the Tesco plans, say on their web site: “This community has hosted and supported the club for 100 years and we believe that the club should leave an alternative legacy, more in keeping with the original use for this site.

“We propose that the site could provide new sports and play facilities for the community along with new housing. These will increase participation in sport and play, and provide much needed housing in this area.”

Audio:  Martin Jones interviews Colin Sexstone


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Colin Sexstone Interview 22nd June

July 7, 2009

I interviewed Colin Sexstone, Bristol City’s Chief Executive (i.e. business manager) on June 22nd, ahead of City’s first major exhibition of the Tesco plans.

I’ve included the full interview, but I think I can accurately summarise his position as saying that the Tesco plan is “crucial” to City being able to fund the new stadium, but he stops just short of saying that they can’t do it without Tesco.

Important part is after about 2 mins.


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Bedminster groups “alarmed” and “disappointed” by Tesco plans

May 28, 2009

Community groups in Bedminster say they’re “disappointed” and “alarmed” by Bristol City’s plans to sell its Ashton Gate stadium to Tesco.

The club could raise as much as £20m towards its new Ashton Vale stadium by selling the ground to the supermarket giant for redevelopment.

Tesco claims the plan could generate as many as 1000 jobs in the area, and it could also enable Bristol to host football World Cup games. Yet there is expected to be strong local opposition to the plans.

Ben Barker from the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership told Original he was “alarmed” by the proposal.

He said: “One of the things about the Bedminster area is that it has a lot of character. There are a lot of small shops.

“They’re likely to be driven out of business by a big thing like Tesco: it’s happened elsewhere. Then our area will look like every other area of the country.

“It will have the same shops, the same dominant food outlets and it will lose all character and interest. That’s not good for the community.”

He also says Tesco’s claim of creating 1000 jobs should be offset against the number of local jobs destroyed by the plans.

One trader on North Street, who didn’t wish to be named, told Original he was “deeply disappointed” by the plans but it was something they “would have to work with”.

The club is expected to put its planning application to Bristol City Council within the next few months.

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