In case anyone was in any doubt over the death of the plan for a new Tesco supermarket in Brownhills, I see the company have put in a couple of planning applications to tart up the existing store. The plans are for new signage and for new trolley bays around the car park, including some superficial environmental improvements – hardly earth shattering stuff. However, the significance of spending money polishing their current turd of a building cannot be escaped.

That’ll make all the difference. Not. Taken from documents submitted with application 12-0615-FL.

The applications are 12-0615-FL ’New trolley bays to replace existing’ and 12/0616/AD ‘Installation of signs and branding to the store and parking areas and petrol filling station’. The plans seem to overlap in nature, and can be seen here for 12-0615-FL and here for 12-616-AD. I note there’s still no cycle parking whatsoever, although all those shiny signs should make good bike locking points. A Design and Access Statement supplied with the first plan talks of a ‘Store refresh’.

What this means is that Tesco, faced with a declining market, falling market share, and tougher times, have decided to persevere with a retail outlet that’s clearly making money as it is rather than replace it with a new one for little commercial gain. Instead, we’ll get the same shed we have now, tarted up for a few more years.

Somewhat troubling is that rumours still seem to be emanating from people connected with the Brownhills store that the decision not to redevelop was all the fault of the protestors from the Brownhills Senior Citizen’s Centre. This is an absolute falsehood – the pensioners were accommodated by the plan, and permission was approved. It’s sad to see old folk vilified in this way.

I keep seeing searches in the logs for this site for ‘Brownhills regeneration’. It’s clear that now, there is no longer any viable plan for our regeneration. Everything we were promised for a decade or more rested on Tesco building afresh. Our shopping precinct was cleared for them, as was the market. Remember the bold talk of new shop units, and housing on Silver Street? It’s all gone down the drain. Walsall Council, having arranged the party, can only shuffle uneasily and mumble as the star guest loses interest and walks away. What we’re left with is piecemeal housing developments and fiddling at the edges. Whole sections of our town centre are still either derelict, or wasteland, and will now remain so for years.

One thing is for sure: as long as they’re taking the money, Tesco couldn’t give a toss.

Piecemeal, uncordinated developments like this, although generally welcome, do not regeneration make. Good to see work started on ‘Silver Waters (ba da dee)’ though…

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15 Responses to Trollied

  1. JeepBoy says:

    WTF -are you seriously telling me that Tesco are not using my Clubcard to enhance my lifestyle ?

  2. interested says:

    I do find it (for want of a more suitable phrase) ironic that the senor citizens club closed not long after all the hassle of keeping it open…
    I believe some work has been done to the building for Social Services but there seems to be a lack of movement to using the building… Hope it is insured, although out can’t now be worth much…

    • They lost their funding – they had no choice. One can speculate as to why the funding was lost, and the fact that they made a certain cabinet member look a prat.


  3. Grande Pablo says:

    The amount Tesco are chucking at redevelopments else where makes me think we should be greatful/amazed (delete whichever suits) that they haven’t pulled out of the town completely.

    • Interesting. I think the problem we have is the store he is clearly making huge amounts already, and there seems little point in throwing money after it. I can’t see them withdrawing, but I can see they’d focus on only expanding where the have no presence.


  4. Andy Dennis says:

    Even if the store is not performing particularly well Tesco will not want to surrender market share to rival operators. The tactics will be different for new and existing stores. New stores are effectively the front line, so securing trade in places like Heath Hayes where there has been a lot of development is a priority. For existing stores one issue will be leakage (this is the technical term) to rival operators in nearby places like Burntwood, Aldridge, Cannock and even Walsall. The more run down a store becomes the more leakage is likely to occur, so the investment in signage, trolley parks and so on is probably to address that as a stop-gap measure.

    When they were planning the replacement store Tesco would have taken into account likely house building and a range of other economic indicators to estimate profitability. These have nose-dived subsequently. A key brake on redevelopment in this case has been land ownership and this is hinted at in the planning obligation to the planning permission. Land ownership constraints are always the most intransigent, because they are beset by legal issues, often very time-consuming and sometimes no amount of money will shift them. If these constraints cannot be overcome the original scheme would not be possible, anyway. If you put together the original site boundary with what is going on today you can easily work out 2+2=4.

    • Cheers for your input, Andy, as insightful as ever.
      I would point out that the land issues were reportedly solved long ago, and I think any scaling back was evidently economic rather than planning constraint.
      I just don’t think they can internally justify spending the money. Having got the land, they now know they’re safe from another store moving in – sorted. As both yourself and Stymaster have pointed out, the stock selection in Brownhills clearly shows a company matching carefully the local demographic.
      It’s just sickening after all the talk of new housing, new shops etc., even if it was fairly obvious at the time we were all being lied to.
      Best wishes


  5. PorkTorta says:

    Sad state of affairs however you look at it. The current plans are indeed, lipstick on a turd. No even the good lipstick either, just the cheap stuff. As a graphic designer, I know how much this ‘refreshment’ is going to cost, and it isn’t a lot. It all seems a very long in ago that the posh new Hillards opened and things seemed to be on the upswing….

  6. David Evans says:

    HI Bob
    …… mmmm…refreshment or botox?
    You tube; Dave Allen..supermarkets. One to relish!

  7. stymaster says:

    The turd-polishing is starting: they’ve plasterboarded the area behind the tills, and over the entrance has been skimmed too. There’s fresh paint marks on the faulty bits of the car park too.

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