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No-go Tesco!

PUBLISHED: 14:57 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 16:21 25 August 2010

PROTEST: Campaigners make their voi ce heard in Wooliwch town centre.

PROTEST: Campaigners make their voi ce heard in Wooliwch town centre.

CAMPAIGNERS rallied in a town centre to protest against the development of a Tesco superstore.

CAMPAIGNERS rallied in a town centre to protest against the development of a Tesco superstore.

Around 80 residents collected at the former Woolwich Building Society headquarters in Watling Street, Bexleyheath, last Saturday to oppose Tesco's latest proposal to build on it.

Further claims that Tesco was determined to build a lone megastore were raised last week when emerged that it did not bid in the council's Bexley First regeneration project.

Joe and Claire Keerthiratna, leaders of the Tescono group, said: "They are now totally focused on gaining planning for redeveloping the Woolwich HQ site.

"The general view is that this is still the wrong location for such a massive over-development

"Protesters said the HQ is an iconic building and should be listed and used for office space, not just demolished by Tesco to create even more of a carbon footprint."

The supermarket giant last year submitted plans to build an Extra store, its largest kind, and some 277 dwellings on the site.

After further consultation Tesco last month announced it would submit new plans for a store one-third smaller.

Yet Mr Keerthiratna said it would still be twice the size of Morrisons in Erith.

Campaigners were joined by Bexleyheath councillor Simon Windle, Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett, and Labour parliamentary candidate Howard Dauber.

Mr Windle told the crowd: "Having just looked at their proposals, it would appear that their traffic modelling is utterly farcical.

"Everyone knows that there are huge traffic jams at this junction but Tesco is currently showing free-flowing traffic at peak times."

The protest followed a three-day public exhibition of the latest plans, which a Tesco spokesman said would generate 500 jobs.

He added: "A large number of people visited the exhibition over the weekend.

"Many welcomed the changes that have been made to the scheme and are looking forward to having the choice of a Tesco store in Bexleyheath.

"We are offering significant investment in the town and a large number of jobs in what is a difficult economic climate."

A planning application is expected to be submitted to the council in April or early May. Neither of the previous planning applications have been withdrawn.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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