Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The store that was not, perhaps, to be; plus a journey to Oz?

On the way back from Fareham, yesterday afternoon, I called in at Tesco, Havant, for a little shopping and to buy some coal.

When I was at the checkout, in the store, I asked the Checkout Assistant if she knew what was happening with the new store that had been proposed. She said that, as far as she knew it was not going to happen, not be built.

She said that Tesco had sold off land at each end of the site. That I, more or less, knew, as they had been denied planning permission to go beyond the present store site; hence the proposal to build a store “in the air”, in effect above the existing car park and existing store ground area.

The Assistant said that the Council had refused planning permission, due; it seemed to the large number of objections to the new store that it had received. I was surprised, taken aback; that meant that Havant Council had actually said no to Tesco.

On the basis of events over the last several years I had developed a general “rule of thumb” that Havant Council would cave in to anyone who had financial muscle of a few hundred thousand Pounds, to a million Pounds, or more, even when planning permissions were breached; anything less than that and you did not stand a chance with the Council.

The idea of Havant Council denying an organisation of Tesco proportions what it wanted was phenomenal. I began to wonder where the Council had gained its courage, short of a trip down the Yellow Brick Road to see the Wizard of Oz. So that is a fantasy, though no more than Havant Council standing up to someone bigger than itself seemed.

The Assistant said that Tesco could re-apply in March but seemed to think that it would not happen. Part of her reason for that was the new checkouts that were due. The staff had, apparently, been complaining about the old ones and asking for new ones for some time. They had new ones due to be installed in June or July, some six months, or so, hence. So, to the best of her knowledge, the new store was not going to be built.

Strange things happen in Havant, at times.

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