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What should the Black House be if not a Tesco Express?

posted Oct 18, 2011 12:59:35 by philip.rutherford1
I live right next to the Black House and I am really pleased Tesco are developing the old, derelict and run down Black House. Lets be honest it was an awful pub before it went to the wall. Remember the summer nights of fights in the car park, shouting and swearing until 1am after the lock ins! Ah, those were the days! I can also remember in the 7 years I've lived spitting distance away 3 cars burned out in the car park, something I doubt will happen in a brightly lit Tesco car park with probable security cameras etc!

Already the place looks better with the Japanese Ivy or whatever it was breaking up the dry stone wall that was already falling down.

Just to counter your objections the way I see it as a resident of Windy Nook.

1. Devalue homes: What? More than having a 'dodgy' pub there or a derelict building that is likely to be vandalised (I called the police 2 days after the boards went up as some yobs were steeling the boiler!)

2 & 3. Traffic & Parking: This is not going to be an out of town superstore! It is going to be a local convenience store with the majority of footfall from local people popping in for items they have run out of or forgot to buy on the weekly shop. It will also be useful to the elderly residents who struggle to travel into Felling or further on the bus. From the plans I have seen I believe the parking is adequate due to the probable usage of the store. Maybe, we could get Tesco to improve the Oxberry Gardens and Co-operative Terrace and Carr Hill back lanes that are a disgrace and in desperate need of re-tarmacking and better lighting!

4. Noise: Again, more noise than the dump of a pub that was there? The Pub also had a generator and I doubt the freezer generator will be much noisier as it will be newer and better maintained.

5. Light: I hope they improve the lighting as it is just dangerous at night around there. Especially the back lane of Co-operative Terrance and Oxberry Gardens where there is only one light on the whole lane!

6. Local Businesses: I can see Tesco only affecting one business and that is Windy Nook News and lets be honest is that a problem on the grand scale given that there are only 2 people who may be out of work from that. Tesco will create about 20 new jobs and in this financial climate that is not to be sniffed at in my opinion. I also welcome fresh produce delivered regularly rather than the local milk and bread from Windy Nook News and Wellfield Stores that is off the day after you open it, especially in the summer! I also think it will be a God send if we get snow like the last two years when I couldn't get my car out of the lane and the buses either didn't turn up or went off at 7pm! Really handy for the many elderly residents of the area.

Finally, as the title of this topic states: what should the Black House be if not a Tesco Express?
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1 reply
LynneThompson said Nov 02, 2011 10:46:15

Thank you for your comments and utilising the site for the purpose that it was intended; namely to generate some serious dialogue over the development by those in favour and those against or as a place to register any concerns or reassurances.

I understand your thoughts behind this development and to some extent I agree with the comments about accessibility for those without cars and the elderly but I feel that the five local stores we have here service the local community adequately for the type of shopping that the Express are hoping to target; however I do think your comments about Carol's produce at Windy Nook News and that from Wellfield Stores is inaccurate and somewhat out of order. If you have purchased something you consider to be stale have you raised this with Carol and the other owner and allowed them the opportunity to redress any issues? I will highlight these comments to both to allow them the opportunity to have their say.

I still fully believe that big companies such as Tesco are responsible for the death of local businesses and this is one of my primary concerns about this development. I, and others involved in this campaign have spoken with the owners of the five local shops that service this area and they are all concerned for their FAMILY businesses, so I take issue that you think in the 'grand scheme' of things that only two people will lose their jobs. It would seem in the 'grand scheme' of things that five family businesses may be under pressure of closing; I'm not aware of how many dependents rely on the incomes from these businesses but perhaps you do because you'll have spoken to those concerned? I, like many of the residents to whom I have talked with about the development are in favour of continuing to support local traders rather than shop with Tesco so this may dent the local footfall business that Tesco are expecting.

I have lived next to this pub for over 10 years and would say the disturbance from the pub has been fairly normal, certainly no worse than other pubs that I'm aware of. I had issues with the car park and was pleased when I looked at the original planning application which made mention of a restaurant; I was pleased that a developer was going to invest money into doing up the building and car park. It was a pub when I bought my house so I was aware of where I was buying; it was just a shame the previous owner seemed to give up and was letting it run into the ground and stopped with the window boxes of flowers and plants that gave the air of care it once had.

With regards to lighting and tarmacing in the back lanes this is an issue you should take up with Gateshead Council as this is in their remit and not who ever owns the building, I think its unfair to blame the Black House for what you see as the failure of the local council in maintaining the local area. Why do Tesco need 10 1/2 foot gantry signs if they are just looking to attract local residents, these will be in addition to the six neon signs they have applied for to be fixed to the building; surely the majority of residents are aware that we are getting a Tesco so that would make this many signs redundant? I would suggest the purpose of the signage is for exactly the concerns that we, the residents who have meet to discuss this, are worried about - enticement for trade from passing traffic which would cause problems with congestion and parking. I work next to a Tesco Express in Sunderland and am very aware of the problems of parking and congestion the store has generated.

This morning I watched a lorry delivering materials to the store approach from the traffic lights, for a few moments (a minute or so) it was on the wrong side of the road, stationary, whilst it waited for a gap in the traffic from the lights to lull so it could then reverse into the lane off Carr Hill Road and onto the site; this was obviously halting the flow of traffic approaching the lights whilst it carried out its manoeuvre. This was at 9am when the flow of traffic is still fairly busy. I anticipate that this will be a daily occurrence once the store is open as there appears to be little space on the plans for storage so the store will have to rely on constant deliveries.

As for the boiler being stolen I think you'll find that this is a national trend in all areas whether affluent or not as the price of copper from piping and the boiler is at its highest level for years. The area has regular visitors from 'scrappers' in their vans that travel from far and wide looking for the opportunity to scavenge; again a national trend and not just local to the attractions of the Black house, plus it was the developer Irwin (TR) Limited who boarded up the pub whilst they submitted the planning applications.

The unit at the Black House was quiet and not one that I heard on an evening, my concerns is that the units required for Tesco are an unknown quantity at the moment and you will see that we've asked the Council to carry out their own tests on the noise level. Presently I'm having to listen to the night security's generator for the last four weeks all through the night and even with fairly new double glazing the noise is very noticeable once we go to bed. We also anticipate that once the cash machine goes in then we'll get an uptake in cars and pedestrians attending the machine in the early hours and that unfortunately the majority will likely have drink onboard and go about their business in that state where they are unaware of the level of noise they are making (slamming car doors, talking loudly and generally being unaware of the residents).

Aside from our genuine concerns whoever the developer be, the thing though that annoys me about this development is the underhand manner in which Tesco have gone about their business. They should take a leaf out of the Felling Syndicate who have had public consultation about their plans to redevelop Felling PRIOR to submitting any planning applications, rather than foist a store on the community without finding out whether we want or need it first. I've had one inadequate response from Tesco so far which in light of how many residents have spoke to me and objected to the store is quite poor to be frank from a company advertising on site their commitment to 'working with the community'.

So to answer your question 'what should the Black House be if not a Tesco Express' I think it should be a pub with a restaurant as described in the December 2010 planning application; the local Council and Police would have a greater degree of control over this type of premises than a Tesco Express and should this store decide to open 24/7 or have deliveries at 3am then as the Planning Officer acknowledged at the recent planning meeting the Council will have no say over this and will have to sit back and allow Tesco to do as it pleases.
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