Save our Sheringham - Say NO to Tesco

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tesco accused of bullying council.

South Somerset District Council councillors have accused Tesco of bullying tactics after receiving a letter from David Prichard, of consultants Farrell Bass Prichardin response to a proposal from planning officer Andrew Gunn that a decision on the application be deferred to consider changes to the design.
Towards the end of the letter Mr Prichard states: "It would be both unreasonable and irrational for the council to seek to refuse the current application on the basis that some members are seeking to secure additional changes to the design which, based on the advice given by officers, are unnecessary, would clearly adversely impact on the adjoining conservation area and are without merit - especially in view of the fact that my client's fallback position is to implement the currently approved food store. In the event that the application is either deferred or refused my client will: (a) proceed with implementation of the current approved food store scheme; and (b) reserve its right to pursue and appeal in respect of what would be unreasonable refusal of an application for a scheme which actually enhances the design of the proposed food store. The legal advice which we have received (which is consistent with our view) is that an appeal on the narrow ground of design is likely to succeed and the council would place itself in a potentially vulnerable position if the main reason for refusal is the failure on the part of my client to agree to amend the design of the food store to introduce a pitched roof which, in terms of design, would adversely impact on the character and appearance of the adjoining conservation area. I trust that you will draw this letter to the attention of your members in the hope that common sense will prevail, and they will support the clear and considered officer recommendation, which is to approve the application."
At public question time former Ilminster Mayor Margaret Excell described the letter as "bullying tactics". Ilminster district councillor Kim Turner said: "I don't like receiving a letter saying their legal advice says an appeal is likely to succeed. I feel this letter from this agent or from Tesco is a bullying tactic and I disagree with anything like that." Linda Vijeh agreed, saying: "I don't think blackmail letters should be any reason to vote for it."