ROAD planners have recommended controversial plans for a Tesco supermarket in Romsey be refused. A report by Hampshire County Council’s Highway Authority stated it was “unable to provide a positive recommendation at this time”, in part on the grounds that it believed the current roads would be unsuitable to take the amount and type of traffic generated by such a store. Tesco has said it will be working with the council to address the issues raised. The supermarket giant has put in a planning application to Test Valley Borough Council for a store with a 400-space car park on a six-acre site known as Fairground Field, on the Broadlands Estate. The supermarket giant says it will provide 200 jobs and draw people in to Romsey to shop benefiting other businesses through linked shopping trips. However, opponents fear that the store will cause congestion, damage the setting of Romsey and threaten the viability of town centre shops. As part of the planning process, the county’s highways authority must assess the impact on the highway network. The report states: “It has not been demonstrated that the local highway network is capable of operating adequately and safely with the additional traffic likely to be generated by the site.” It said there were a number of areas that required further assessment. It added that the proposed access for the store onto Bypass Road and a controlled crossing close to the exit of the roundabout would be likely to impact on the safety and convenience of the road users. It found insufficient support for sustainable transport options meaning more car trips, affecting the environment and roads and said Tesco had not demonstrated that there was enough car and cycle parking for the predicted traffic. The report stated concerns that the development would significantly change vehicle movements at certain areas in Romsey and that the proposed improvements were minor. It also raised concern over how delays on the bypass road could affect traffic within Romsey, but did consider the road capable of carrying the estimated 18 delivery vehicles each day without affecting safety. Although the report approved an upgrade of the footpath alongside the Romsey Bypass to a footpath/cycleway, it said further thought needed to go into how this route wopuld connect to the rest of the cycle network. Mayor of Romsey, Mark Cooper, also a county councillor for Romsey and borough councillor for Tadburn, said: “The expressed view of thousands is that traffic volumes and congestion will be a major issue in making a Broadlands Tesco unworkable. “The professional officers of Hampshire County Council agree with them.” A Tesco spokesperson said: “Whilst disappointed, we are pleased that the county council believes our store will be very popular with Romsey customers. We will work with the council to answer the questions raised.”
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