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Not Tesco’s finest

Retailer's designs for conservation area 'simply not good enough'

Designs by Tesco for a new shopping arcade in a Westgate-on-Sea conservation area have been strongly criticised by the Society.

The new shopping unit would be built in the former goods yard on Station Road. Opposite are a number of striking 1870s buildings that, in the words of Thanet District Council, 'contribute to the unique and special character of the town'.

'We do not have any objection in principle to Tesco building a shopping arcade here,' says Kathy Clark, Conservation Adviser for the Victorian Society. 'The site needs development, but not of such extremely poor quality. The designs we've seen are a slap in the face for the area in general and especially for such a pleasing and historic street.'

station_road,_westgate-on-sea_-_Google_Maps_-_Google_Chrome_28112012_163307.jpg Station Road with the empty goods yard on the left

    (Image courtesy Google street view)

The Society is calling on Tesco to return to the design process and come up with plans that enhance the area, not detract from it. Future designs should reflect the quality of the Victorian shopping parades which make up a significant part of the street.

Kathy adds, 'Tesco is a major retailer. It has a responsibility to take proper note of the area's heritage. Caring for an historic environment means taking more care when designing new buildings. These plans are simply not good enough.'

The Society has written to Thanet District Council to persuade it to refuse planning permission until Tesco submits plans appropriate for a Conservation Area.

Wednesday 28 November, 2012

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