Belfast Telegraph

Community fights plan for Tesco at Rosetta site

By Shauna Corr

People from the Cregagh area have come together to challenge plans for a new Tesco store.

The supermarket giant submitted a planning application in October to turn the former Rosetta Bar at the top of the Ormeau Road into a Tesco.

Cregagh Community Association chair Marlene Dodds organised a meeting, which took place on Tuesday night (November 19) in Cregagh Community Centre, and was attended by a large crowd, as well as two planning officers and seven local councillors.

Those present were given the opportunity to air their views on the proposals, with the objections raised ranging from congestion, to the potential loss of jobs and negative impact on locally owned businesses in the area.

DUP Councillor Tommy Sandford, who attended the meeting, told the Community Telegraph: "There were well over 50 people there, including shop keepers, a local business man who employs about 30 to 40 people in

the street, and people from the local area.

"They were putting their objections forward to the planning officers... they have also asked for a meeting with Tesco.

"Traffic would a problem," he said, before adding: "It's good for the community, but at the same time we need to think about the people whose jobs are on the line."

According to Mr Sandford, Tesco plans to put a Tesco Express on the site.

Two separate applications from Tesco Stores Ltd for the "installation of an ATM", and a "new shopfront to facade, demolition of gazebo and provision of new plant and equipment" have been confirmed by Department of the Environment.

They also outlined that no further permissions would be needed to change the bar into a shop.

Marlene Dodds said: "We have quite a lot of local businesses here. If Tesco goes in round there they're going to take away our local businesses, who employ people from our community.

"I don't know if anything can be done to stop it or not, but I don't want to go down without a fight. We would like to try and get it stopped.

"They've only put in for a shop front and an ATM – there's a garage directly across the road from it that has an ATM, so why they need an ATM I don't know.

"They're going to take the custom away from the garage and they're going to take the custom away from the Co-op that has been there forever.

"We have local shops at Greenaway, we have the Top Shop and the shops at the top of Mount Marian Avenue, so you're talking about 10 or 12 businesses in all.

"They all employ people from our community, and it's just not on. Surely they need to consult with the community before they do these things.

"We have a Tesco 10 minutes down the road, why do we need another one?"

Since the meeting on Tuesday night the Alliance Party have also entered the fray with Castlereagh Councillors Michael Long and Carole Howard also calling on people to have their say.

In recent days, they said they delivered hundreds of letters to local residents to let them know about the proposal as well as attending the meeting at Cregagh Community Centre.

Councillor Michael Long said: "Unfortunately, the proposal is not subject to a change of use application but we may not have known about Tesco's plans until building work began if they hadn't submitted two planning applications for an ATM and for a new shop front.

"Having discussed the proposal with many local people in the past fortnight, it was clear that most were unaware of it and so we distributed leaflets in the area and would encourage local people to have their say.

Councillor Carole Howard added: "Already local businesses have expressed their concerns about the impact that the proposal may have upon them whilst residents have told us about worries about car parking, traffic and possible disruption with deliveries.

"We hope to discuss the proposal with Tesco directly and would encourage anyone with concerns to write directly to the Planning Service."

No-one from Tesco was available to comment at the time of going to press.

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