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Tesco’s Premises Licence Application Successful

We would like to thank everyone who wrote in to object to Tesco’s Premises Licence application and all those that supported our efforts to curtail their plans to sell alcohol during all of their opening hours.

Sadly the licensing laws are heavily stacked in favour of the applicant. The panel’s decision allows Tesco to sell alcohol during their opening hours from 06:00am to 11:00pm every day of the year.

Without evidence of anti-social behaviour, public nuisance, under-age alcohol sales etc. at the Golden Harp site nothing could be done to stop them or place conditions on their licence. Obviously there is no evidence because the store has not opened yet.

Tesco’s lawyer said that Tesco’s policy towards consulting with residents has moved towards not bothering. It is a consideration that they need not take as far as the law is concerned. They will continue open their stores whether we like it or not.

We will continue to fight for the rights of the residents and collect evidence for a review of their Premises Licence at some point in the future.

Gravity Grand Prix

The eighth Gravity Grand Prix will be held in Cookham Dean on Sunday 31st August 2014 the week after the bank holiday.  It is a fun event run by The Kaffirs of Cookham Dean to raise money for charity, traditionally, The Thames Valley & Chiltern Air Ambulance.

The course will be from the junction of Church Road and Spring Lane to Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Up to thirty karts will compete for a variety of prizes.

The FPAG have entered the competition and are now looking to put together a team to design and build our themed racer.  If anyone has a chassis or parts that can be used please get in contact.  We will need designers and technicians to build the kart and a garage in which to develop and test the kart.

If you would like to get involved please get in touch.

Truths, Lies and Rumours

The Disappointing Truth
Tesco have started work on the Golden Harp, and they aim to open it as a Tesco Express in May

Tesco poster at the Golden Harp - 29th Jan 2014

Tesco poster at the Harp – 29 Jan 2014

The Lie

Tesco poster at the Golden Harp - 29th Jan 2014

Tesco poster at the Harp – 29 Jan 2014

The community has always been overwhelmingly against the conversion of the Golden Harp into a Tesco Express, and Tesco’s behaviour over the last year does not support the claim made by their poster.

In December, the Maidenhead Advertiser reported: “Tesco says it will update the community once it has a clearer timetable for starting work”. But Tesco haven’t done that, despite starting work and fixing an opening date.

The Rumour

Apparently, Tesco have their eyes on another TWO sites in Maidenhead – can they really need FIVE stores in Maidenhead?

Tell Tesco what you think about all of this

Tesco poster at the Golden Harp - 29th Jan 2014

Tesco poster at the Harp – 29 Jan 2014

Chairman’s New Year Report

Now that the festivities are well and truly over I feel it is time to reflect on our achievements and plan for the year ahead.

Tesco have always been able to open a shop as they have had a twenty year lease in place since December 2012. To change the pub to a shop is permitted development.

We have managed to delay them for a year and have successfully prevented them from opening a car park entrance in Furze Platt Road.

This will severely affect the throughput of the store and will make it a lot less profitable and more difficult to service. We are still working to convince Tesco that they should cut their losses and withdraw their plans to open a shop. However much of a long shot, it remains an option. A huge thank you to everyone involved for their enthusiastic support and hard work over the past year.

Little has changed as far as the Golden Harp site is concerned, apart from the fact that someone has removed all the FPAG posters from the blue hoarding. The Clubcard Wonderwall and SAY NO TO TESCO pub sign still remains in situ.

The Steering Committee reconvened on Tuesday night and various proposals were put forward to increase the momentum of the BOYCOTT campaign.

I have not had a reply from Sir Richard Broadbent or Philip Clarke to my letters and the 1500 strong boycott petition. Theresa May did acknowledge receipt of the petition and wrote “I think you have done the right thing in sending this to Tesco as I am already aware of the strength of feeling on this issue.”

Having corresponded with fellow campaigners in Reading West and Goring, who are fighting similar campaigns against Tesco, I am convinced that some sort of national day of protest should be high on our agenda.

Another important area is to ensure that the conditions outlined in the Appeal Decision are understood and enforced.

We are working in conjunction with the council to try and restrict parking around the site and ensure the safety of road users and pedestrians.

The FPAG will be conducting a survey of the local households to see what traffic calming measures the residents are happy to support. They are the people who will be most affected by the increased traffic should the shop open.

Once again I thank you for you ongoing support……….…SAVE the HARP!

Mark Newcombe
Chaiman FPAG

Appeal Hearing Decision

Date: 8 December 2013
Case Reference. 2199252
The Planning Inspectorate Appeal Decision (hearing held 17 October 2013)

A ‘Golden’ Victory for Furze Platt Action Group

FPAG members warmly welcomed the latest victory in the battle against Tesco turning the Golden Harp into a convenience store.

Although Tesco had appeals allowed on the shop front, plant equipment, bollards and signage, they were refused permission on four of the original planning applications including the all-important hardstanding. This means that they will not be able to enter/exit the car park from Furze Platt Road. Both the Planning Inspector and the Thames Valley Police considered the Tesco traffic management plan to be too dangerous, vague and ill-conceived.

The FPAG Chairman, Mark Newcombe, commented “This is great news. With only the Courthouse Road entrance/exit we do not believe that they can create a safe environment within the site and around the site with an increased mixture of pedestrians, cars and delivery lorries. The store traffic will be dangerous and in conflict with normal heavy traffic, the schoolchildren and parents with pushchairs walking along the pavement.”

Tony Dixon, spokesman for the FPAG, added “We call upon Tesco to give up this irresponsible scheme and talk to us about how we can jointly develop the site in the interests of the Furze Platt residents by creating a community pub which will have support of the majority of the local people.”

A major player in the battle was Councillor Claire Stretton who commissioned the police traffic report and spoke against Tesco’s plans at the Planning Appeal Hearing. The FPAG would like to thank her, Ward Councillor Hari Sharma, the RBWM Officers present and the members of the Thames Valley Police for their support and valuable professional contributions.

Residents will now recall the words of Simon Petar (Tesco’s Corporate and Legal Manager) who said “Safety is our number one priority. If we are unable to deliver safely we will not open the store.”

The FPAG will be sending their BOYCOTT Tesco Petition (with over 1500 signatures) to the powers that be at Tesco asking them, once again, to withdraw on the grounds of safety. We will appeal to their only concern – the bottom line; without the Furze Platt Road entrance and with the formidable local opposition it is unlikely that they can operate a store profitably on the Golden Harp site.

[end of press release]

Full details of the appeal can be accessed from the Planning Portal.
And here’s a direct link to the appeal-decision document.

Hey Tesco! – The FPAG’s Protest Song

Here it is at last – Hey Tesco!, the FPAG’s Protest Song!

Tell your friends!
Share the links on Facebook, Twitter etc!
Drive round the neighbourhood with a loud speaker and promote it!

You can also buy it direct from us for only 75p (mp3 audio file only, not video). All proceeds will go towards the campaign to Save the Golden Harp. Click the ‘Buy Now’ link below.

Alternatively, you can buy it via one of the below links (price may vary).

If you don’t like the way Tesco is conducting its business, please help us by publicising and buying the song.

A big thank you to Andy, Peter and James for making this happen.

Hey! Tesco!

See this building site? A pub used to be here
And all my friends and neighbours I used to see here
A pint and pie with pals – an evening of bliss
But supermarket business means we cannot have this

Hey! Tesco! We don’t need any more
Mindless bleeping at the checkout, clean up in aisle four
Hey Tesco! No-one needs to keep track
Of Clubcard loyalty points – we need a place to relax

Have you noticed that in pubs people smile?
In supermarkets they just scowl all the while
For cards or darts or pool the pub is the best
Not to mention music, sport and the rest

Hey! Tesco! You’re one helluva bore
And I want character and fun to be living next door
Hey! Tesco! I’m an old-fashioned man
I want an evening with mates,
Not late-night shopping for jam

Hey! Tesco! We all know what is best
We need to see our friends more and not ten items or less
Hey Tesco! We don’t need any more
We want a temple of peace and not a palace of chores

Hey! Tesco! We don’t need any more
Of your faceless grub for money coming up to my door
Hey! Tesco! You’re one helluva vulture
Picking every scrap of meat off our community’s culture

Theresa May’s statement for the appeal hearing

Our MP, Theresa May, sent the below statement which was read out at the appeal hearing on 17th October:

Statement for the Maidenhead Planning Committee Hearing – 17th October

I have been approached by a number of my constituents who have raised concerns about the proposal for a new development of a Tesco Express store on the site of the Golden Harp Pub. I understand Tesco have appealed against the Royal Borough’s decision to refuse planning permission for the eight applications which include the installation of a shop front, plant and equipment and bollards.

The Golden Harp is located within the conservation area of the Furze Platt Triangle and has played a part in the community since the late 19th triangular area is characterised by Maidenhead’s Victorian and Edwardian development and local people are concerned about the harm of the different proposals when considered on an individual basis or in combination, on the character of the Conservation Area. As mentioned by the Royal Borough, the installation of a shop front, the proposed bollards and the materials used for it would have a detrimental impact on the character and setting of the area. Concerns have also been raised about the associated use of the development and whether there could be a change in the pattern and level of activities which may result from a new use which could detract from the character of the conservation area.

My constituents have also raised wider concerns outside of planning considerations, notably the impact the development could have on local amenities. The Golden Harp was listed by the Local Authority as an Asset of Community Value which under the Government policy initiative, would allow the community to bid for the asset if it were to be put up for sale. Some of my constituents are concerned about the ability for the local corner shop and post office to compete with a large convenience store from an international chain, which could have an impact on the local post office.

In addition, I understand that Thames Valley Police raised concerns about the Highway Safety of the development which includes increased road traffic, additional vehicular traffic entering the site and potential road safety issues. The conclusion given was that the site will not be able to cope with the increased amount of traffic at the junction of Courthouse Road and Furze Platt Road, especially during peak periods.

I would be grateful if you could consider the concerns raised by my constituents and that of the local community when further determining the planning applications.

Thank you.