Tesco listens to Green MP and local community and pulls out of Lewes Rd Community Garden site

2 October 2010

Caroline Lucas has said she is delighted to learn from David North, Tesco’s Community and Government Director, that Tesco has decided not to seek to open a store on the site of the Lewes Rd Community Garden.

The Green MP has had two recent meetings with Tesco’s Corporate and Legal Affairs team, where she, along with local Green Councillor Ian Davey, and the founder of the Lewes Rd Community Garden, Cathy Marchand, sought to persuade Tesco to review its decision to lease one of the shop units in the new development on the site.

At a meeting with the MP this morning, David North said: “Tesco is not the owner or developer of this site.  We were approached by the developer, after they had secured planning permission from the Council, to take one of the retail leases.

"However, there is clearly a great deal of ongoing local debate about the site, the future of the community garden, and the question of whether it should be developed.

“We believe the future of the community garden should be resolved locally, by the community and by its representatives.

"We do not think it is helpful for us to become the unintended focus of this debate, nor do we want to become an obstacle to it being resolved by the local community.

“We have therefore decided to remove ourselves from the issue by confirming that we will not now be seeking to open a store as part of this proposed development.

We have explained this to Caroline Lucas MP, who has welcomed our position as an important step in the campaign to preserve the community garden.”

Caroline Lucas said: “I am absolutely delighted that Tesco has listened to the specific concerns the local community have about development on this site, and I warmly welcome their decision.

"I pay tribute to all the local people who have fought such a tireless campaign to preserve the community garden.

“We made our case strongly in the meetings.  I am delighted that they have listened to our concerns, and reconsidered their position."

Green Cllr Ian Davey added: “The local community has fought a tremendous campaign to protect this site.  There is huge support for the community garden.  

"I hope very much that this will send a message to the developers that we want to keep it as a valuable community resource."

For more information please contact the Brighton and Hove Green Party office on 01273 766 670.

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