Benson Street Residents Group represents residents and traders concerned at Tesco’s plans to expand its supermarket in Lisburn. It was formed in August 2005 when about 80 concerned residents met at short notice to consider the effect of the Tesco plans.
By November 2005, up to 300 protest letters had been lodged with the Planning Service.
Tesco wish to extend the gross sales area of their store in Bentrim Road, Lisburn, by a massive 33,000 sq feet (3,100 sq m). That’s half as big again! Who wants a super hypermarket this size in a mainly residential location? That is the question which many are asking.
Not only that, but Tesco have also submitted plans to extend their car parking area. At present this is at ground level and has 500 spaces. Tesco want to add 70% more parking area. That would make a total of 850 spaces. And how? Mainly by constructing a first storey car deck above the current car park! “A dreadful eyesore at the entrance to our city”, say locals. As for the obvious increase in traffic movement at already congested roundabouts, the resulting adverse impact on road users can only be feared. Currently 6,000 vehicles per day use nearby Benson Street! And it even has mild traffic calming humps.
Among issues raised by objectors are:
Non-compliance with Planning Policies
Encroachment on an existing residential area
Loss of residential amenity
Insensitivity to the surrounding area
No positive contribution to townscape
Adequate stores existing in the area and nearby city centre
Unacceptable increase in traffic
Increased noise and disturbance
Inadequate landscaping (even at present)
What they have got against Tesco
Many locals and others from a distance shop at this Tesco store. Tesco claims that “Lisburn is a very successful store and extremely popular with the tens of thousands of people who shop there every week. We have applied to extend the store to allow us to increase the range of goods which we can offer these customers and also to improve parking and other facilities.”
Local residents and even Tesco customers are not objecting to Tesco as it is.
What they don’t want is another gigantic extension (mainly for non-food items), and an unsightly car deck.
Tesco also had plans for 24-hour opening of their filling station at the same location and this was even approved by the Planning Service. However, strong representation by the Action Group, support from council representatives from the main parties as well as the local Westminster MP, finally resulted in Tesco withdrawing their application. Residents were greatly relieved.