Sunday, 8 September 2013

Stop Supermarket Expansion on our High Streets

In the last week, I welcomed a petition presented to the Petitions Committee at Glasgow City Council which asked for a rethink of the proposals which enable supermarkets to expand across Glasgow.

The plans for new smaller units by Tesco were highlighted as damaging to the fortunes of local neighbourhoods in Yorkhill and Kelvinbridge. There are strong objections from residents in these areas to the development of new smaller supermarkets by Tesco as they are expected to take customers away from existing food retailers and therefore, threaten the livelihoods and vitality of independent businesses. An example cited is the closure of Andersons Fruit and Vegetable Retailer on Byres Road after a new Tesco supermarket opened in Byres Road.

It was suggested by the petitioners that prior to the approval of any plans or licences for supermarkets, the Council should ensure that comprehensive health checks of the economic vitality and viability of designated town centres is undertaken. Reference was made to relevant planning guidance issued by Scottish Government including Scottish Planning Policy 8 and Planning Advice Note 59.

The petitioners asked for the new Glasgow Local Development Plan, replacing City Plan 2, to consider evidence that there are negative consequences of the further supermarket development for Glasgow's town centres. 

In response, it was agreed by the Petitions Committee that a report to the Regeneration and the Economy Policy Development Committee should be provided in response to the concerns raised by the petitioner. This report should give an examination of the National Planning Framework and the relevant strategies which could address the issues highlighted by the petitioners regarding the balance of retailers in local communities.

There is a need for stricter planning regulations for supermarket development to ensure we can retain a thriving, diverse mix of food retailers within our city's local neighbourhoods.

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