Concerns over Tesco car park proposals

Stephen Pullinger Plans for an extension to the Tesco Extra car park in Yarmouth have raised concerns about increased congestion at Gapton Hall roundabout, a notorious bottleneck on the outskirts of the town.

Stephen Pullinger

Plans for an extension to the Tesco Extra car park in Yarmouth have raised concerns about increased congestion at Gapton Hall roundabout, a notorious bottleneck on the outskirts of the town.

The proposal, involving a reconfiguration of the existing 500-space car park and an extension on land south of the Pasteur Road store, would create a further 138 spaces.

Trevor Wainwright, a Labour borough and county councillor in nearby Bradwell, said: "Until they sort out the mess of Gapton Hall roundabout, I don't think there should be any new development around there. Another 138 spaces will create further pressure on that stretch of road."


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Mr Wainwright expressed concern that it often now took villagers 20 minutes or more to drive the short journey from Bradwell to Yarmouth town centre via the roundabout.

Borough council cabinet member Graham Plant said: "My main concern is that they are already using quite a few spaces on the existing car park to extend their retail activity, with car cleaning, windscreen repairs and a marquee selling plants in the summer."

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He added that the council's strategy of encouraging people to use the town centre would not be helped by the expansion in free parking on the Tesco site.

Tesco corporate affairs manager Michael Kissman said their plans partly stemmed from customer feedback and were aimed at making the shopping experience smoother and easier.

He said they would not be proposing the car park extension if they believed it would add to traffic congestion - which would be an own goal, adversely affecting trade.

The car park plans are likely to be considered at a meeting of the borough's development control committee next month.

A Gapton Hall taskforce of councillors and businessmen has been lobbying the Highways Agency for improvements to the A12 roundabout for more than 18 months, but it was revealed earlier this year that there will be no funding available for automated traffic lights to reduce congestion until the financial year 2009-10.

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