Saturday, 5 November 2011

Huddersfield Tesco Public Enquiry - Barry and the Barrister

Fortnum and Mason - where i believe Tesco's Barrister shops. Go on sue me!

You'd be forgiven for not knowing about the Tesco Public Enquiry. Not highly publicised they held it out of town in the Hudawi Centre this week. Just to recap Kirklees Council sells Huddersfield Sports Centre and surrounding area to Tescos for millions to allow them to build a huge store at the edge of the Town Centre to help suck more money out of the local economy. The money from Tesco's is then going to used to build a new Sports Centre on Springwood Car Park. The Planning Committee decision was highly dubious given the background and expressed reservations of Counciilors who then went on to vote for it. Barry Sheerman Huddersfield's MP (he managed to beat me in the General Election as did  a couple of others) successfully called for a Public Enquiry. You should be up to date now.

Here's the Tesco Enquiry I spoke at on Friday. On your left is the Tesco Legal team mob. At the far end is posh Barrister. The Planning Inspector in the middle and Barry Sheerman on the left. I followed on from our esteemed MP
I managed to get there for half an hour to present my evidence. I arrived as Barry Sheerman MP was having a set to with Tesco's rather plummy Barrister. It seemed I had entered just as class war was breaking out between Barry and the Barrister. Barry gamely slagged off supermarkets and how much money was being drawn out of the local economy while the 'Tescos Toff' said Barry was biased against supermarkets and wasn't giving any planning reasons to oppose the application. So when I took the stand following Barry I decided not to go off on a Tescopoly tirade but to stick to the unsound nature of the planning decision itself. I pointed out the deep reservations expressed by councillors in the planning meeting who then went on to promptly vote for the application. I told the Planning Inspector about the seven fold increase in traffic at the end of an air quality management area on Leeds Road, the lack of a commitment to social housing, the lack of natural stone in the development despite Councillors wishes. I went on to point out the extraordinarily long time, 9 years, that Kirklees had granted Tesco to build their barn and the lack of trees and biodiversity about the site as well as the impact on the Town Centre. I finished giving my evidence and awaited the onslaught of probing questions from Tescos Barrister. The Planning Inspector invited him to respond but 'No questions' 'Cmon!' I said, 'there must be some questions' I had focussed on the Planning Decision after all. 'I've no questions but that doesn't mean I agree with what has been said'. During my evidence 2 of  Barrister Posh's staff rushed up to him with bits of paper and conferred with him but whatever they said it did not seem like he wanted to engage. I counted about 8 Tesco's people there either legal or company people so they are certainly throwing some money at this lets hope Kirklees Planning's deeply dodgy decision on this ( with the honorable exception of Cllr Christine Iredale) is overturned.


  1. Here's the video evidence for the next session of the inquiry;


  2. Aha but if you see my post on Tesco in February you'll see the full version