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Anti-Tesco campaigners in Brixham welcome public inquiry

By HECAbbott  |  Posted: February 18, 2014

BRATS

BRATS

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AN ANTI-Tesco campaign group in Brixham has welcomed the news that a public inquiry will be held regarding the stopping up of Union Lane.

The Herald Express revealed earlier this month that the public inquiry ordered by the Department for Transport meant that development of the new Tesco store in Brixham would not begin in April as planned.

This followed objections to the proposal to stop up the highway at Union Lane as the existing public right of way between Middle Street and Bank Lane would lie in the middle of the proposed supermarket site.

Brixham Residents Against Tesco Superstores said they are ‘pleased the DfT has listened to the concerns of local residents and businesses and decided to hold a public inquiry’.

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BRATS secretary Rosemary Clarke, who is also a town councillor, said: “We understand there were 54 objections. Several objections were submitted by BRATS members, including myself. However the majority were from local residents and local businesses who do not believe the stopping up of Union Lane is in the best interest of Brixham.

“If successful the stopping up will mean the closure of a right of way from Middle Street to Fore Street which has existed for many years.”

She said BRATS had raised awareness of the stopping up order application as ‘the official notice was not the easiest thing to spot’.

“Just because there has been delay after delay with the development it should not mean that the democratic right for people to have their views heard can be put aside,” she said.

“BRATS welcome the fact that an inspector, appointed by the DfT, will take an independent look at the issue.”

A spokesman for developer Albourne said the proposed development would be ‘far more attractive and give priority to pedestrians’ and had received 15 to 20 letters of support.

A Tesco spokesman said the company remained committed to the £20million scheme which would create more than 150 jobs.

A date and venue for the public inquiry has not yet been set, but it is not expected to take place before May.

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24 comments

  • reiwruwiou  |  April 03 2014, 4:27PM

    MJCCRAW, you didn't ask me. Perhaps the people you spoke to can't wait for the "free parking" promised, blissfully unaware that they will have to spend £5 in Tesco to get it - It will amount to just enough time to do a lap of the store. That is how it works elsewhere - Tesco is only interested in its own profit margins, not supporting the local economy.

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  • MJCRAW  |  March 01 2014, 12:41AM

    I get out and about in Brixham quite a lot. I talk to many people. I really do and over the last few weeks, certainly since the beginning of the year, I have noticed people becoming more and more irritated, annoyed even, by the constant delays besetting this development. I'm not making it up. People are getting peeved off. They want this development.

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  • MJCRAW  |  February 27 2014, 4:32PM

    As you are fully aware, when I say 'you are doing it again' I am referring to your lack of integrity by not mentioning the fact that Clarke would have received votes based on the fact she is a member of the Labour party as well as being an ex Labour cllr and Labour were riding high in the polls at the time. The Clarke campaign certainly didn't hide the fact that she was a Labour & Co-operative cllr for ten years in Bristol and as she stood and lost with the Labour & Co-operative Party for the St Mary's & Summercombe ward the year before it was very obvious for anyone who was going to go to the trouble of voting that she was a Labour member and former Labour candidate which will always guarantee a certain number of votes regardless of local issues. You are quite correct in your assumption that I am impressed by the BRATS electoral machine. Since the couple that drive BRATS moved to Brixham 3 years ago they have proved very very efficient at promoting BRATS, no doubt by drawing on their experience of doing something similar in the area they moved from. They very quickly organised meetings, petitions, attendance at council meetings, facebook, twitter, e-mail sign ups, generic letters etc. They are very good at getting their message across with the obvious result that they get their supporters out at election time. Other political parties and individuals could learn much from them. Yes, I am very impressed with the BRATS electoral machine. If you bother to look at BRATS you will see that they are not apolitical at all. They may well want to give that impression but even a cursory investigation will show that they are very much of the radical left wing enviro agenda. With regard to vacant spaces in Fore Street we already have many of them. Six closures this year alone with more in the pipeline! One of the vacant shops has been filled though… by a charity shop. Town centres are shrinking and will continue to shrink. That is the way it is going to be and only blinkered dinosaurs refuse to accept that fact. We have a golden opportunity of managing that shrinkage by embracing this town centre development and by doing so concentrate the town centre retail area by knitting together the town centre, Middle St, The Strand and Fore St. and allowing any outlets that become vacant on the periphery to return to housing. Given the all too obvious benefits for Brixham in these harsh retail times it does make one wonder the precise reason for BRATS objections doesn't it?

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  • Ax0l0tl  |  February 26 2014, 6:32PM

    By doing it again, do you mean that I am disagreeing with you? Would you prefer that I promoted your opinion as fact instead of voicing my own? I don't recall the Clarke campaign saying much about her political allegiances. BRATS is a largely apolitical single issue group and as such involves people of different persuasions. I think that Baldrey's poor show was due more to a fall in the Lib Dem vote rather than the increase for Labour. Local considerations usually override national ones, particularly at this level. You seem impressed by the BRATS electoral machine, I don't think it was that good. When a campaign seems lost, despite what its leader and machine may say and do, rallying support is going to be difficult. Anyway, we must agree to disagree. The proof of the pudding of regeneration will be when traders queue up to rent the vacant spaces in Fore Street to take advantage of the impending influx of customers.

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  • MJCRAW  |  February 25 2014, 10:24PM

    Ax010tl And you are doing it again by not pointing out that a big chunk of the votes Clarke received, quite possibly the biggest chunk, would have been the fact that she was is a member of the Labour Party and was a councillor for ten years in Bristol for the Labour and Co-operative Party and at the time of the by-election Labour were riding high in the opinion polls. That BRATS supporters felt less inclined to vote at the March by-election because of the planning decision is the complete opposite of what happened. After the decision BRATS immediately announced that they would be seeking a Judicial Review and so as far as they were concerned they still had everything to play for hence their very intense and aggressive campaign leading up to the election. This included their supporters door knocking morning, noon and night; distributing leaflets door to door; e-mailing their supporters; using their web site, facebook and twitter to urge their supporters to vote. Their manifesto, (so called) which can still be seen on their website, said 'the campaign against this development will continue' 'together we can still halt this plan'. It urged people to get out and cast their votes for the BRATS candidates. This compares to no campaign to speak of at all from the pro regeneration candidates. To suggest that the planning decision was responsible for BRATS poor result is nonsense. If anything, they were even more determined. That March 2013 by-election was a straight choice for voters between BRATS anti town centre development stance and the pro development, pro regeneration stance of the other two candidates and it was overwhelmingly in favour of the development. It's maybe difficult for some people to swallow that but it is a fact.

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  • daveconol  |  February 24 2014, 7:54PM

    Quite agree with you abcxyz. Actually there's another one that maybe you weren't aware of. On the 6 June last year this article appeared on the BRATS website. 'We do not campaign in schools. However Rosemary Clarke was invited to go to be interviewed by two sets of children at Eden Park School. They were doing a project on Brixham and whilst searching the www had found out about our campaign. Rosemary did suggest they should also interview someone who supported the building of Tesco but the children were so against it that they did not want to hear the pro-Tesco lobby' I wrote this letter of complaint to the town councillors and the school: 'Does this person Clarke really think that we Brixham residents are so stupid and gullible as to believe that these very young children, by their own volition, invited her to their school to talk to them about her anti development stance? Well, yes she does. And then, even more preposterously, Clarke thinks we are stupid enough to believe that these children - primary school children – had so steadfastly made up their minds (after listening to HER one sided view one assumes) that they decided, again by their own volition so we are led to believe by Clarke, that they didn't want to hear the pro regeneration side's point of view as they were just 'so against' it.     The headmaster of the school and the class teacher were appalled at the article as it was nothing like what took place. They thanked me for contacting them and demanded that BRATS remove it from their website. I understand they had to ask more than once for this to happen. Does make me wonder just what kind of world BRATS live in and what kind of place Brixham might become should they ever acquire any power. For the record, I received a reply from two town councillors expressing their concern but received no reply at all from any of the three Torbay/Town Cllrs.  

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  • Ax0l0tl  |  February 23 2014, 5:59PM

    MJCRAW Why personalise the discussion by resorting to insults? You don't know who I am and you don't even know if I am in favour or against the supermarket development. The anti Lib Dem sentiment played a part in Andrew Baldrey's failure to be elected, by how much is purely speculation. A significant factor in the poor result for the anti-tesco candidates at the March 2013 by-election was that the planning decision had already been made and the Tesco development was being presented as a fait accompli. In other words people saw little reason to vote because it would not affect the decision. There is no proof of overwhelming support for or opposition to the development.

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  • abcxyz  |  February 22 2014, 2:09PM

    We have many community groups in Brixham which contribute greatly to the well-being of Brixham often through the efforts of unpaid volunteers. They bring much positiveness and optimism to our town. What do BRATS bring to our town? They bring nothing but negativeness with their constant objections to this development which will bring jobs, houses, car parking, flood prevention, toxic waste removal and other benefits. They even objected to the air-quality improvement scheme at Bolton Cross, a scheme to reduce to traffic exhaust fumes, the silent killer that is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths each year. We all have the right to breathe fresh air. Who would object to that? BRATS, that's who. Who can forget the appalling behaviour of these people in the past 18 months or so? How they hustled residents and tourists alike to sign their petition. How, when people (like myself) attempted to put the opposite point of view to that of BRATS were shouted down by these mouthy individuals who often didn't even live in or come from Brixham. How they intimidated people when they totally took over the corridor at the town hall where Albourne was holding a development presentation to seek the public's opinions. How the police had to be called when a BRATS supporter threatened and abused a couple who were holding an exhibition at a shop in Fore Street to present their point of view which happened to contrast with that of BRATS view. How they shouted people down at council meetings if they dared to express a view that they didn't agree with. The good people of Brixham do not deserve to be treated like this BRATS bring nothing to our town other than their hatred and negativity. We don't want them.

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  • MJCRAW  |  February 22 2014, 12:10AM

    Not surprisingly you lack the integrity to highlight the vast differences between the two elections. In the November 2012 election there were two important factors which played the main part in how people voted, namely Andrew Baldrey being a Lib Dem Torbay councillor and the BRATS candidate Rosemary Clarke having been a Labour councillor for ten years in Bristol. Given the standings of the main political parties at that time there is no doubt that a large amount of the votes Rosemary Clarke received were cast for the reason she is a member of the Labour Party while other votes she received would have been courtesy of an anti Lib Dem vote by voters unhappy about the coalition with the Conservatives. Even with those important factors in her favour she still only just made it by the skin of her teeth. At the March 2013 election it was a straight contest between BRATS anti-Tesco candidates and the pro-regeneration candidates and as the BRATS candidates were so comprehensively beaten in that election and as Rosemary Clarke only just scraped in there can be little doubt that had it not been for those other factors at the Nov by-election, BRATS candidate Rosemary Clarke would have lost heavily.

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  • Ax0l0tl  |  February 20 2014, 11:09PM

    Funny how Tesco supporters say elections aren't significant when the result is not the one they want. i.e. the by-election which elected Rosemary Clark.

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