DELIGHT and devastation greeted a council decision to approve plans for a 24-hour Tesco superstore at Fratton Park.
Despite objections over increased traffic, pollution and the impact on other businesses, plans for the 10,475 sq m store were approved at a Portsmouth City Council planning committee meeting last night.
More than 4,000 people had signed petitions against the development.
Planning committee member Councillor Hugh Mason said: ‘I don’t think any of us feel wholly comfortable with this but I think we recognise it needs to go forward.’
Portsmouth Football Club director Ashley Brown said he was delighted with the decision.
Mr Brown said: ‘From the perspective of the football club we’re very pleased.’
But Alex Bentley, who has a tailor shop on nearby Albert Road, said the development would mean devastation for independent traders.
He said: ‘They have survived a recession but not all of them will be able to survive this.’
The application was approved on the condition that the city’s planning development officer retain the right to amend conditions ‘where necessary’ in the future.
The superstore will create 300 jobs and have an annual turnover of more than £55m.
Its doors could open for business as soon as next year.
The council’s recommendation will now go before the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, for final approval.
Mr Pickles has 21 days to decide whether or not to call in the application.
The councillor in charge of traffic and transportation at the city council, Cllr Ken Ellcombe, said the new store would cause congestion in Fratton Way and other nearby roads, especially on match days.
Cllr Lynne Stagg also spoke about potential traffic problems, especially in light of other developments in the area such as a housing redevelopment on the nearby St Mary’s Hospital site.
She said: ‘We have to consider the cumulative impact of this development as well.
‘This is going to put an extra strain on the already stretched transport network on the eastern side of the city.’
Other concerns raised included excess noise caused by delivery lorries arriving at night, sales of alcohol on game days and masses of matchgoers cutting through the site on their way to and from Fratton Park.
Decision paves the way towards a brighter future for Pompey
POMPEY stands to receive a fat pay cheque from developer Point Estates when the project goes ahead, which the club plans to invest in a long-term redevelopment of Fratton Park.
Portsmouth Football Club director Ashley Brown said the council’s decision paved the way to a brighter future for the club.
He said: ‘From the football club’s perspective, this is a fantastic opportunity and it is incredibly important to the club that this has been approved.
‘We’re currently boxed in at Fratton Park, and this will give us the ability to expand in the future, which is going to assist us to make sure that the club is sustainable. This application gives us that.
‘We get back some land to the north and west of Fratton Park and that means that over time we’ll be able to develop and improve the facilities.’
While the amount promised to Pompey is confidential, it will help pay for maintenance of the stands including new electrics and work on the steps running down to exits.
Supermarket will cause havoc and hit small shops, traders fear
WHILE Pompey officials are celebrating the council’s decision, local traders are not so impressed.
Albert Road tailor Alex Bentley said he feared retail strips such as Winter Road and Milton Road would be hit hard by the increased competition Tesco would create.
He said: ‘You’ve only got to see what’s happened down Albert Road.
‘The banks are gone, there’s no butchers, no fishmonger.
‘Of course Asda will lose out but they will not be the main losers.
‘The main losers will be the lack of choice which will dry up because people can’t afford to financially support their businesses.’
Stephen Dean, the owner of Bransbury Park Butchers in Eastney Road, said he was concerned about the increased traffic the superstore would bring.
He said: ‘It’s already queued up at 8.30am. The roads around here were not made for so much traffic.’
He added: ‘I think we’ll be all right but some of the other shops I’d be worried about.’
Luke Frosdich, who works in Grande Wine in Eastney Road, said the Tesco would impact small traders but he expected the superstore would be welcomed by shoppers.
He said: ‘It’s going to annoy a lot of shop owners, it’s going to take custom away, but at the same time it’s also going to be handy for a lot of people who live around here.’
‘I think in this shop, we’ll be okay. I think it will be mostly food shops that are affected.’