LIVES could be put in danger and tourism could take a hit when Tesco moves into a South Lakeland town, claim residents.
Fears have been raised after the chain was given permission to open an Express store in Grange-over-Sands, which is expected to bring more traffic from outlying villages —with concerns of congestion and key roads blocked, making the town ‘less appealing’ to visitors.
“There are a lot of people concerned about traffic, especially because of where the ambulance station is,” said Peter Endsor, chair of the Chamber of Trade.
“People don’t always pay attention to double yellow lines.
“I think the worry is that if someone had a heart attack, for example, how would an ambulance get to them on time if it’s been blocked in?”
The Tesco store will be located on Kents Bank Road, close to the ambulance station.
Mr Endsor, who owns Birchleigh Guest House, also said he believed tourism could suffer.
“Guests won’t want to be woken up by delivery lorries or customers coming and going early in the morning or late at night,” he said.
“It’s as simple as that.”
Coun Tom Harvey, leader of Grange Town Council, agreed and said: “I think it could put people off coming here.
“It won’t be a place that’s attractive for people — why would they want to come somewhere that’s packed with cars so close to where they’re walking?
“It doesn’t matter if the cars are moving quickly or are reduced to a crawl. We want people to walk from A to B rather than drive, but why would they do either if Grange isn’t a pleasant place to visit?”
A Manchester-based firm, Kents Bank Assets, won permission from South Lakeland District Council earlier this year for the town’s former Royal British Legion building to be converted into retail space.
Tesco later admitted it was in line to move into the building.
Tesco spokesman Mark Thomas said: “Our Express stores are at the heart of local communities and operate successfully alongside a range of neighbours.
“Our stores can bring people to the high street, attract visitors and add to the vitality of the town.
“We’re conscious of the traffic implications of customers visiting the store and this formed part of the developer’s application to the local authority, which was duly scrutinised.”
He said delivery vehicles will be accommodated in a dedicated loading bay presently being designed.
“We will be a good neighbour in Grange-over-Sands,” he added.