Saffron Walden Tesco Express store sign row rumbling on

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has turned to the Planning Inspectorate in a bid to erect an illuminated gantry sign at its Pleasant Valley Express store.

The company’s plans have been met by fierce resistance from residents and were thrown out by members of Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee in June.

Corporate affairs manager Matthew Magee confirmed Tesco was appealing against the decision, and said a resolution to the issue was expected in the next few weeks.

“The gantry sign is an important part of the store which provides information for our customers,” he said.

“We’ve worked hard to provide an appropriate size, design and location for the signage and we hope for a resolution of this issue soon.”

Tesco is looking to erect the three metre high gantry sign, complete with information about opening hours and offers.

The application also includes a welcome and goodbye sign and car parking notice.

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Some nearby residents have opposed the signage and Uttlesford District Council has received more than 90 letters of objection.

Trilby Roberts, 68, of Ross Close,sais she was encouraging people to make their feelings known to the Planning Inspectorate.

“I don’t think Tesco needs an illuminated sign because everyone knows it’s there,” she said.

“The place is a glaring eyesore on the corner and they have a great big fascia with Tesco on it, so I can’t understand it, especially when the store is in a residential area.

“It would be lit up like a fairground but without the fun.”

Town and district councillor Doug Perry, who lives nearby, said adding an illuminated gantry would only exasperate the problems residents had encountered since the store’s opening.

“The gantry sign is a danger because it will cause more accidents. We are now up to one damage accident a week, whereas I think there were only three the whole time the Crocus Pub was there,” he said.

“The gantry and signage will only add to the problem, not alleviate it.

“People are using Debden Road as a race track because they don’t want to spend 25 minutes stuck at the traffic lights on Radwinter Road, trying to get to the main store.

“They are coming to the Express shop instead. Tesco said 90 per cent of customers using the store would come by foot from the estate but that is not correct. It is 90 per cent vehicle traffic.”

People have until August 12 to comment on the appeal. Visit and quote the appeal reference APP/C1570/h/13/2200205.

Alternatively, e-mail or write to The Planning Inspectorate, 3/04 Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN.