TRADERS in Mill End have vowed to fight new proposals by Tesco to build an Express convenience store – just months after similar plans were rejected in the face of fierce public opposition.
Two applications by the supermarket giant to build a store, with eight and seven flats respectively, on the site of the former Happy Man pub in Berry Lane, have already been abandoned.
Revised plans recently submitted to Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) have been scaled down to include four flats, as well as the store.
But shopkeepers and residents say Tesco has failed to address public concerns including inadequate parking and a loss of trade for independent businesses.
Paresh Patel, owner of nearby A-Z Convenience Store, in Tudor Parade, has collected more than 500 signatures on a new petition against the development.
He vowed to fight the new plans: "As far as we are concerned, nothing has changed since the last application.
"Tesco may have reduced the number of flats but the ground floor plans are still exactly the same and they still haven't provided enough parking.
"Of course, shopkeepers are worried about trade being affected – every shop is suffering in the recession.
"The council needs to think carefully about how an economic balance can be achieved in the area and whether a new convenience store is justified.
"The petition has already had such a positive reaction from people in Mill End and, once again, we plan to fight this all the way. We don't want a Tesco here."
Father-of-three Mike Sole, 36, of The Greenway, added: "The entrance to the site is on the corner of an awkward junction with a bus stop, which could affect the free-flow of traffic and is potentially dangerous for pedestrians and schoolchildren.
"There simply isn't enough parking and we will have to compete with customers to park outside our own homes, which will result in a knock-on effect on house prices.
"This village prides itself on supporting our local shops and Tesco is not welcome here."
Tesco lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate in July last year after the second application was deemed too large for the site, but withdrew before a decision could be made.
The new application, 10/0329/FUL, can be viewed here
Any comments must be submitted to TRDC by April 2, to be considered before the development control committee meeting on April 22.
What do you think? Would you be pleased to see a Tesco in Mill End? Email Gazette reporter Siba Matti at email@example.com