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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Houdini alive and well in Kirkby


It seems Houdini is alive and well in Kirkby where he’s perfected the difficult illusion of making a massive retail development appear much larger than it actually is, you don’t believe us? Well read on………..

In December 2007 Knowsley planners submitted a draft Interim Policy Statement which included extracts from their retail based evidence report, this advised that the retail element of the proposal was for 47,000sq m gross of retail floorspace of which Tesco would occupy 15,000sq m. These above figures are confirmed by DTZ in their “Retail Evidence Base Report”

Amazingly when the Tesco planning application was submitted a month later the retail element was now calculated at 72,221 sq m gross of retail floorspace of which Tesco will occupy 15,000 sq m.

In the face of disastrous objections, leading to an inevitable public enquiry, Mrs Houdini decided to write to all the chief executives of the neighbouring authorities and, in a bid to placate them, offered significant reductions in the amount of retail. On the 7th May David Bartlett of the Daily Post broke the story that revealed Tesco were prepared to reduce the retail space by 25%, you can read his article here.

When you look at the very comprehensive report produced for Liverpool City Council by Cushman & Wakefield paragraph 2.1 states:

2.11 With the non-food element of the Tesco store included the total new comparison goods sales equates to 54,946 sq m in and to the south of Kirkby town centre, just over a four times increase on existing provision. This is a significant increase in sales floorspace.

Now you see it now you don't, the Daily Post are reporting that Tesco are prepared to reduce the retail figure back to the figure it actually is, a figure that's essentially 17% higher than what was proposed in December anyway, so, in short, this offer isn't a decrease it's actually an increase!

Expect further reductions, they still have a bit to play with. It's not the first time Tesco have had problems with their figures, building work was recently halted at their Liverpool Allerton Rd store when it was discovered that they were accidentally building the extension larger than they had planning permission for. This appears not to be an isolated occurrence, read a BBC interview here.

It does appear that the famous proverbial spade is indeed in the ground, it's digging the grave for this ill-conceived scheme.

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