2 February 2010

New Flooding Regulations - and a call to Tesco shareholders

Building on a flood plain - which Tesco are trying to do in Seaton - is governed by Planning Policy Statement 25 (PPS 25 to its friends) entitled "Development and Flood Risk"

PPS25 was published in December 2006 and came as a terrible shock to Liatris, who owned the site before Tesco.  It takes account of sea-level rise and requires the site to be able to resist floods for 75 years in the future.  Liatris planned to do this by dumping a million tons of rubble on the site, so raising the level by 8 feet - totally ignoring other, greener ways of developing the site.  Tesco seem to have adopted the same intransigent attitude.

PPS25 is not a straightforward document and its interpretation has been a point of controversy. A Practice Guide was published to assist this, but still East Devon District Council and the Environment Agency supported the view favoured by the Developer, ignoring that presented by Seaton Development Trust and the community. 

Now, the overall planning decision has been made and Tescowatch is not trying to rewrite history . . . but the Government has decided to rewrite the Practice Guide.  Dating from December 2009, the Guide now includes several important changes which make the infill process even more ridiculous and expensive.  Tescowatch will see that these changes are fully honoured - in the observance rather than the breach - in the coming infill planning proposal.

A small sub-committee of the Environment Team is considering the changes and will report back in due course.  In the meantime, we invite all Tesco shareholders to ask the Directors at the next AGM in June why their management is spending so much of investors' money building the most expensive Tesco supermarket in the world on a floodplain in a little seaside town served only by narrow country roads.

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