Whilst it’s too late for the Golden Harp, there are many other pubs that are in danger of being converted into supermarkets without the need for full planning permission or consultation with the community. Please sign our petition to urge the government to stop this, and help protect our community pubs: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/66572
The opening of the Tesco Express store in Furze Platt is indeed a very sad day for local democracy. The vast majority of local residents, through petitions, surveys, public meetings and letters of objection have made it very clear that they are opposed to the opening of this store.
We hope that our supporters and local people will boycott this store as it is the only way left for us to protest against this unwanted development. We truly hope that our pedestrian and traffic safety concerns are not realised and that Tesco prove to be a good neighbour, something they have failed to demonstrate so far.
The FPAG is currently working on a number of exciting projects, with National and Government organisations, to change the planning laws in order to protect pubs from suffering the same fate as the Golden Harp. The campaign is far from over and we will continue to push for change.
Action groups around the country are coming to us for advice and using our data and legal experience to protect their communities and so our campaign has grown beyond just saving the Golden Harp, local businesses and the Post Office.
We have also set up a Residents’ Committee to monitor the site to ensure that Tesco do not breach any of the conditions imposed on them at the Appeal Hearing in October 2013.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the campaign so far and look forward to working with you, and the ever growing number of like-minded people around the country, in the future.
The results of the Furze Platt Action Group’s Survey of residents, who will be affected by the Tesco Express which is due to open, shortly, at the Golden Harp Public House site in Furze Platt Road, Maidenhead, have just been released. The overall results were :-
- 94% of residents are concerned about the increase in traffic and/or risk of accidents when the Tesco Express opens and are concerned about the safety of children walking to and from school.
- 79% said they would boycott the Tesco Express.
Views on what could or should be done were somewhat more mixed:-
- 57% wanted traffic calming in Courthouse Road, with 22% against and 22% not sure.
- 67% wanted width restrictions, with 21% against and 12% not sure.
- 91% wanted loading restrictions and yellow lines around the Golden Harp site to prevent delivery trucks or customers from parking or waiting on the roads.
- 70% thought there should be free parking permits for residents and their visitors where they lived close to the Golden Harp.
Residents also expressed their views on the potential loss of the Post Office.
- 95% were concerned about the loss of the Post Office, if the Best One shop closed as a result of the opening of Tesco Express.
and about the use of permitted development rights to convert the pub to a store without a full planning application, meaning factors such as traffic safety could not be taken into full consideration.
- 94% wanted a change in planning law so that full planning permission should have to be obtained.
Whilst the views of residents in the immediate area ( Courthouse Road, Furze Platt Road, Linden Avenue, Oaken Grove varied slightly from the overall results they were not significantly different.
Many of the residents were scathing in their individual comments criticising Tesco for going ahead with this store given the overwhelming opposition against it.
Mark Newcombe, the Chairman of the Furze Platt Action Group, reflecting on the survey, said:
“Thames Valley Police have already expressed their concern about the impact of this store on what is a busy junction. The Furze Platt Action Group will be working with the Royal Borough and looking to the Council to bring forward plans to deal with what will undoubtedly be a chaotic and dangerous situation for local residents and their children.”
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead thanked the FPAG for organising the survey and said the results were very informative. The council added:
“We are very keen to continue our constructive work with local residents to help deal with a number of their concerns. Several highway improvements and management controls have already been put in place to prevent parking and loading abuses. However, we are always willing to look at further proposals, including the possibility of a residents’ parking permits scheme, although that would require formal consultation on the creation of a residents’ parking zone.”
Regarding residents’ desire for a change in the planning law, the council added:
“We continue to give consideration to how our planning policies can best address residents’ frustrations within national planning regulations.”
Note to editors;
600 questionnaires were delivered in the local area and could be completed by paper or online at http://www.savetheharp.co.uk. 166 returns were received ie 28%, an extraordinary response for such a survey. 76 of those returns were from the immediate area ie Courthouse Road/Furze Platt Road/ Linden Avenue/ Oaken Grove.
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.
PRESS RELEASE – GOLDEN HARP – FURZE PLATT
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]
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.
Just a few quick lines about today’s appeal hearing for anyone unable to attend:
There were several hours of round-table discussion lead by planning inspector Isobel McCretton. Taking part in the discussion were representatives from the FPAG, RBWM, Thames Valley Police and CgMs (Tesco’s planning consultants). Isobel McCretton then made a visit to the Golden Harp site. A decision is expected by the first week in December, possibly sooner.
Thank you to: our team of Mark, Kobie, Ian and James; Claire Stretton and Victoria Gibson from the borough; Thames Valley Police; the 50 or so residents who attended the hearing.
Here is the Swept Path Analysis sent to us by Beth Greenhouse of Tesco after our telephone conference on the 29th July 2013.
(click the image to enlarge, or view the original document here)
The view on the left shows a 12.6m (41 ft) articulated lorry travelling north up Courthouse Road and turning into the existing Golden Harp car park entrance. The unloading position is as shown in the middle of the car park.
The view on the right shows the lorry doing a u-turn in the car park and exiting by turning right out of the car park and heading towards the junction to Furze Platt Road.
We invite you to draw your own conclusions and then perhaps write to Tesco, Theresa May, your Ward Councillors and the local press to let them know what you think of this proposal.