Video: Shock development in Lowestoft Tesco saga as councillors go against planning advice
The controversy surrounding Tesco’s plans to set up a fourth store in the Lowestoft area took a dramatic twist tonight after councillors ignored their own authority’s planning advice.
An extraordinary meeting of Waveney District Council’s development control committee saw members agree the Tramway Hotel in Pakefield is of a mixed use of pub and hotel.
Tonight’s vote went against council planning advice that said the Tramway Hotel in London Road was only a pub and so Tesco did not need planning permission to convert it into a Tesco Express store.
However the council’s head of planning Philip Ridley said Tesco could still move into the Victorian building as it would argue independent legal advice had shown it was just a pub.
If Tesco defies the committee and goes ahead without seeking change of use planning permission, the council could seek enforcement action to stop it. But Mr Ridley said he believed that could lead to an appeal from the supermarket giant as the council could have been seen to have acted beyond its powers by recording the building as of mixed use and going against legal advice.
Mr Ridley, in discussing the motion to record the building as mixed use, said: “The consequences of that action need to be carefully considered.”
The change of use motion was proposed by Gareth Douce, of the Kirkley Ward, who received a large round of applause from the packed public gallery.
Before the meeting there was a protest outside the town hall which had been organised by Pakefield Opposed to Tesco, which was set up to voice fears from the community that the new store would impact on other shops and cause traffic problems.
Bob Blizzard, chairman of the campaign group, spoke after the meeting to the protestors gathered outside.
He said: “It is up to Tesco to apply for change of use planning permission or defy the council, apply or defy.”
There have been 225 letters of objection against the plans and a petition of 2,500 signatures against the store, which Tesco says would create 20 jobs and benefit the area.