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CABE labels poor town centre supermarkets a 'liability'

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Town centre developments including supermarkets could end up a ‘liability’ rather than an asset if they are not well designed, according to the latest research by CABE

A review of 30 schemes by leading retailers including Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s found that in many areas they were the only regeneration projects on offer and that numerous involved large plain buildings in a big car park, which were ‘unsuitable for town centres’.

Chief executive Richard Simmons said: ‘With local people given real power to decide what gets built and where, it will be even more in the interests of supermarkets to propose good schemes which benefit the area.’

In March last year CABE hit out at ColladoCollins’ plans for a Tesco store and mixed-use development in Bromley by Bow, describing the project as ‘disjointed and incoherent’. The practice responded by saying most of the criticisms related to the site’s masterplan which was the work of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation.

The commission praised Sainsbury’s for a development in Fulham, West London (pictured) which features a store built behind smaller shops and housing ‘to avoid dominating the area’.

Recently submitted for planning, the Fulham scheme has been designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.

Read the report

The supermarket’s response:

Martin Young, chief architect, Tesco Development and Planning said:
‘Tesco welcomes CABE’s comments on how good supermarket led development can bring real benefits to towns and neighbourhoods. Supermarket regeneration projects are becoming increasingly complex and we already take into account many of the issues discussed in the report.

‘Whilst it praises our schemes such as Ludlow, for relating the building to its neighbourhood, and Highams Park, London, for creating good public realm, concerns raised about applications, such as those in Suffolk and Surrey, have already been addressed and redesigned based on Tesco’s direct discussions with CABE.

‘We are talking to CABE to clarify some of the misunderstandings in the report and are committed to working with them and other design organisations to ensure high quality design.

’ A great deal of consideration goes into Tesco’s supermarket plans to ensure stores bring real long term enhancements to local communities, while reflecting national and local planning guidance.

‘Despite the challenges of taking into account often conflicting opinions from the local community, the local authority and CABE, Tesco has been successful in opening new space because we have a flexible approach to new store design and development.

‘Since the introduction of our low carbon Environmental Blueprint, all new stores we build also have a carbon footprint at least 50% smaller than those built in 2006.


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