Tesco in Bus Stop and Traffic Nightmare

Last month the Richmond Council granted Tesco’s request for a larger loading bay on St Margarets Road. Over the past few days details have emerged regarding the specifics of the implementation of the new loading bay. The actual implementation appears to be far more lenient towards Tesco than previously suggested in the Council’s Cabinet Report.

It seems the bay will not only be longer, but substantially wider than it currently is. Also, the rules for the bay will also be more far more forgiving for Tesco and harder for residents than they are currently.

The Facts

The bay will be extended from its current 11 metres to an overall length of 15.4 metres and the width will go from 2 meters to 2.7 meters.

The sign will be changed to say “Goods vehicles loading only” with the following hours of operation.

8.00am – 9.30am Monday to Saturdays Loading bay to be kept clear of all vehicles.
9.30am – 4.00pm Mondays to Saturdays Loading / unloading permitted by goods vehicles only, maximum stay 1 hour, no return within 1 hour.
4.00 – 6.30pm Mondays to Saturdays Loading bay to be kept clear of all vehicles.
6.30pm - 8.00am Overnight & All Day Sundays No restrictions apply,
so the bay is available for parking by any vehicle.

From the end of the extended bay to the corner of Broadway Avenue, and for a short distance into Broadway Avenue, to the first road hump, there will be double yellow lines.

The changes should be ready from 31st October.

The Physical Problem

The key issues are:

  • The wider bay legally allows Tesco to block more of the road.
    The bay will be 0.7 meters wider than it is currently. As the lane is only 3.6 meters wide, this will allow only 0.9 meters (2.9 feet) for other vehicles to pass.
  • The loading bay’s rules essentially prevent any residents from using the loading bay.
    Except after 6.30pm and on Sundays.
  • The addition of the double yellow lines around the corner also remove valuable waiting space for residents.
  • Putting a wider bay so close to the Broadway Avenue corner makes the corner more dangerous.
    There will be a fairly significant blind spot for A316 bound traffic.

Richmond Council’s Position

Despite the publicly strong stance of the Council requiring Tesco to be a ‘good neighbour’, the actions of the Council seem to be far more supportive of Tesco over the concerns of the community. In fact, they suggest they could do nothing but allow the change and all they can do now is how that Tesco can abide by the law.

“The Cabinet Member has allowed this alteration to go ahead and while I am sure he appreciates the feeling among many in the area the fact that Tesco’s can legitimately trade from this location gave him little option other than to approve the extension to the loading bay.”

Andrew Darvill, Assistant Director (Traffic & Transport), Richmond Council

Conclusion

Only time will tell if Tesco can become a better neighbor and stop creating traffic and pedestrian problems; however, it seems that with the new loading bay plans, Tesco has secured a major win from the Council. Not only is the bay larger, but they get a lot more flexibility over who can use the bay, how long they can use it and near immunity from getting more tickets.

On the other hand, residents lose the use of the bay, lose valuable waiting space, gain a potentially dangerous blind turn and a virtual guarantee of ongoing traffic congestion on St Margarets Road.

How do you feel? Vote in our poll. See the Results.

NOTES

Regarding the Width

“The loading bay will be widened to 2.7 metres. I am told it is currently more like 2 metres wide. There is nothing explicit in the Report submitted to Cabinet Member nor in the actual Cabinet Member decision regarding the width of the bay. However, statutory regulations stipulate a minimum width of 2.7 metres for a loading bay. Inasmuch as its hours of operation and extended length are all in recognition of the needs of Tesco to load, and that an agreement as to the hours of loading has been reached between Tesco and the Council, it would be perverse for officers not to re-mark the loading box such that it would fail to comply with the regulations. I did not understand that, as part of the agreement, Tesco would use vehicles narrower than 2 metres, so, apart from the regulations, ordinary road safety considerations dictate that the vehicle should be able to be contained with the marked box, thus leaving the carriageway markings visible to other motorists / road users whilst a lorry is waiting.”

Simon Merren, Senior Engineer. Transport Planning, LB Richmond upon Thames, email on Friday, October 21, 2005 4:46 PM

Regarding the Council Position

“In essence Tesco’s reiterated their desire to work in a cooperative manner making deliveries at during reasonable hours and where loading/unloading is difficult to try and ensure there is only vehicle at a time visiting a store.

With regard to St Margarets they feel that the amendments to the loading bay should now enable the deliveries to be made without affecting the bus stop and again were confident that their own delivery vehicles could be programmed to arrive such that there is only one at a time. As you indicated in your email the Cabinet Member has allowed this alteration to go ahead and while I am sure he appreciates the feeling among many in the area the fact that Tesco’s can legitimately trade from this location gave him little option other than to approve the extension to the loading bay. It must of course be noted that the loading bay is not only for Tesco’s but to help the other shops nearby. Also by having the extended bay there should be less conflict with the buses using the adjacent Bus Stop and reduce possible congestion if the bus had to stop in another location.

While parking on a bus stop or other restricted location can attract a Penalty Charge Notice (parking ticket) it should be noted that it is not a criminal offence and consequently a driver cannot be prosecuted. Indeed I can confirm that having spoken to the Parking Enforcement Group a Parking Attendant regularly patrols areas such as St Margaret’s and Kew and if appropriate issues a PCN to any vehicle found to be in contravention of the parking regulations.

The Council continues to meet with representatives of Tesco’s and is always grateful for information or suggestions from the public that can be used to improve arrangements.

I trust this provides you with information that you require although I appreciate that the reply from Tesco may not indicate the sort of changes that you are seeking. Should you see any vehicle inappropriately parked then please do not hesitate to contact the Parking Hotline on 020 8744 0462 (available from 07:00 until midnight)."

Andrew Darvill, Assistant Director (Traffic & Transport), Richmond Council