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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tesco Application Deeply Flawed

Cushman and Wakefield

KEIOC can now reveal the findings of the Cushman and Wakefield report commissioned by Liverpool City Council to examine the Tesco application in full and identify any implications for the City Centre and surrounding hinterland.

The findings of the report will go before Liverpool’s Planning Committee on the 4th of June who will then decide if to formally object to the application. Once they have read the findings of the report we fully believe there will only be one possible outcome.

Cushman and Wakefield the world renowned retail experts have produced a compelling and damming report that completely undermines Tesco's planning application.

The main findings include:

  • A major concern with the reduction of mezzanine floor space only;
  • The accompanying retail assessment by DPP is flawed on a number of grounds;
  • A major lack of transparency by Tesco;
  • The application will have a negative effect on Kirkby Town Centre.
  • The New Tesco store will have a greater turnover of non-food goods than the whole of Kirkby Town Centre;
  • Conflicts will all National, Regional and Local planning policy.

It is perhaps not surprising that after a detailed evaluation of the Tesco proposal Cushman and Wakefield have found that Tesco are including more “ancillary” retail than they are suggesting.

2.15 In summary we do have concerns that the full extent of the floorspace in the Tesco store and associated mall units has not been fully illustrated and taken account of or consistently in the assessments. (Cushman & Wakefield May: 2008)

This lack of transparency by Tesco and DPP is further backed up in the report when it is reported that Tesco hold the results of a recent Household survey and that they have so far failed to use it in any meaningful way.

4.19: A household interview shopper survey was commissioned by Tesco in November 2006 covering the 11 zones of the catchment area.

It is, therefore, surprising that this survey data has not been used in any detail by the applicant in their assessment of need or if it has not in a transparent way.

Whilst not the only factor to consider in assessing shopping patterns we are concerned at the lack of transparency over the use of this data. We consider that Knowsley BC should question why this data has not been used in a transparent way. (Cushman & Wakefield May:2008)

As KEIOC have suggested previously the proposed application by Tesco will have a negative effect on the existing Kirkby Centre with the evidence of the Cushman & Wakefield report strongly suggesting the same. The report points out that the proposed retail element would be a 250% increase of the existing provision.

Perhaps the most staggering fact is the proposed Tesco store will be dominated by non-food sales which will be competing directly with the existing traders in Kirkby Town Centre; Cushman & Wakefield have serious concerns with this while also highlighting the serious effects it will have on existing centres within Knowsley and Liverpool.

4.30 The turnover in non food goods from the proposed Tesco store is greater than the estimated comparison goods turnover of the Kirkby town centre as a whole in 2012 which is some £47m.

6.15 The actual turnover figures of centres do not always correspond with previous tables and represent an underestimate of impact, particularly in Prescot town centre. The impact on Kirkby itself is some 27%

As previously highlighted by other surrounding Local Authorities and KEIOC the current application is not consistent with Local, Regional or National Policy, and that this alone should be reasonable grounds to refuse the application.

Cushman & Wakefield do not agree with Tesco and DPP that the emerging Regional Spatial Strategy can only be given limited weight while at the same time they state that the applicant has failed to provide a compelling argument to outweigh the deficiencies of the application in policy terms

5.11 To date the applicant has failed to provide compelling material considerations to outweigh the deficiencies of the application in policy terms namely need, scale, the sequential approach and impact.

The report concludes that there are a number of errors and assumptions in both the retail assessment and supporting documents and this alone should be sufficient grounds to object.

There are a number of assumptions and overall approach that we are concerned about and consider that there are sufficient grounds to object as the applicant has not adequately demonstrated a need for the retail floorspace proposed

These issues are just some of the key findings that will go before Liverpool City Councils Planning Committee on the 6th June, to read the full report please click here.

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