Tesco: We WILL be opening in town

TESCO Express will open in Portishead - whether people like the idea or not.

That is the message Tesco representative Sophie Akokhia made loud and clear to residents who packed a public meeting organised by the supermarket giant last week.

Scores of angry residents took part in heated debates over the plans to convert the former Royal Oak pub in West Hill into a Tesco Express.

More than 2,200 people have already signed a petition against the development, but Tesco confirmed a lease has already been signed and that it is committed to opening the store in the New Year.

Residents say they feel cheated out of any real public consultation after Ms Akokhia confirmed that most of the research conducted by Tesco had been desktop research.

The Tesco representative explained that residents are now being consulted so their views on how the building will look and operate can be taken into consideration.

Pat Gardener, who grew up and still lives in the area, said: “Our West Hill community is dying and the residents here are now fed up and extremely angry. We have already lost our church, school, post office and pub and we do not want to lose our shops, which is a real possibility if Tesco opens its proposed store.”

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Many people said they have grave concerns about the safety of pedestrians over plans to expand the car park. They said not only would the entrance on a blind bend be dangerous but cars driving across the pavement to enter and exit the car park would also pose serious danger.

Robert Bull, chairman of the anti-Tesco action group in Portishead, says they will continue to fight the Tesco proposals and challenge the retailer every step of the way.