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Tesco Express plans for Chinese Garage could ‘kill’ Beckenham shopping parade, business owner and residents fear

PUBLISHED: 09:24 23 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:48 23 August 2017

Tesco Express hopes to move on to the Chinese Garage in Beckenham

Tesco Express hopes to move on to the Chinese Garage in Beckenham

Archant

A consultation on the plan is running for the next month

A century of history is under threat from a supermarket chain with its eyes on Beckenham’s Chinese Garage, a business owner has claimed.

Residents had initially been told Pets at Home and a Majestic Wine were eyeing up the former petrol garage, but the pet company has now been replaced by plans for a Tesco Express on the busy roundabout.

Janki Patel owns Parc Franglaises, a delicatessen in Wickham Road, with her sister, and fears the supermarket giant could threaten shops along the parade.

“We’re livid with the plan, and the customers are just as angry,” said the 26-year-old business owner.

“People live hear because it’s got a suburban, community feel and it isn’t too far from the city, building a Tesco Express will just increase traffic and risk losing local businesses.

“There’s already a Waitrose and a Lidl nearby, we’re not trying to compete with them, but adding a store like this so close to the parade is no good, we don’t need a multi-national company moving in.

“We have a lot of retired customers who live alone, getting out to a coffee shop and talking to people is so important, if these shops have to close then the town is losing a community asset that’s been here for 100 years, house prices will suffer and the community will be lost.”

So far this week, more than 80 neighbours have voiced concerns to the council, resident of 40-years Ian MacFarlane told us: “I’ve lived here so long I consider most of the shop owners my friends, if they lose those local people coming through their doors it will kill them.”

A council spokesman said, “The council has recently received a planning application relating to the Chinese Garage site in Wickham Road, Beckenham. Consultation is underway and whilst this officially closes on September 20, comments received after this date will still be reported to the relevant planning committee when the decision is made.

“Planning permission already exists for two retail units on this site, with this application seeking to remove some of the conditions which were imposed at the time of the planning permission, including for instance, the hours of opening, the servicing operations and the class limitations.”

When approached, Tesco told us: “We are keen to open a store and serve customers in Beckenham and the site owner is awaiting a decision from the local planning committee. We are not able to confirm an opening date at this stage, however we will keep the community updated going forward.”

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