Wednesday, 6 April 2011


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Back in February, Freshwater submitted their plans to build a new Tesco superstore next to Arlington House, much to the annoyance - I imagine - of their Residents Association who have been quite vocal in their opposition to it. However, I've come across some information which may be of some comfort to them. In fact, it may even eliminate some of their concerns.

In a podcast for Little Atoms on December 5th 2010 (download it here), the esteemed if slightly controversial British architect Will Alsop OBE spoke at length about the subject of urban renaissance and said some very interesting things which may have some relevance to the people of Arlington House.

"I think Tescos are rather evil actually. I really mean it - they make all sorts of promises to all sorts of towns, not just to build shops, of course, that's their prime interest, but they'll do things like build a new police station, a new school, and they never do it.

"I've come to the conclusion that the reason they don't do it is all they're doing is stringing out this thing for a long period of time, to stop Asda going there, or somebody else. West Bromwich is one example of that, where nothing's been delivered."

Could Will Alsop's comments imply that despite the recent planning application we may not actually see a Tesco store being built after all? Is this whole planning application thing by Freshwater - as Mr. Alsop suggests - a calculated ruse done on behalf of Tesco to ward off the superstore's competitors? I mean, let's face it, there are striking parallels between what Will Alsop has said and what the people of Arlington House have been promised.

After all, Thanet Council's press release makes it clear that there will be improvements to Arlington House "including new windows, repairing and treating concrete panels, new lighting and a roof canopy on top of the building." In addition to this, the planning application also promises that they may build "new shops, cafes, restaurants or bars, with a hotel above" in Arlington Square and they may even create a "community facility such as a doctor's surgery."

So, will these promises by Freshwater - if they are, indeed, working on behalf of Tesco - actually bear fruit? Will their grand artistic impression of Arlington House actually become a reality? Needless to say, I'm sure many residents of Arlington House would rather see the whole project shelved but judging by what Will Alsop has said - a much-lauded architect with an OBE, remember - it may not actually see the light of day. Maybe we shouldn't worry about it too much. Let's just wait and see what happens.


  1. We need to keep an eye on this one. They applied for PP for the old tyre place in Westbrook and the demolished the site and decided not to build. The site is still empty.

  2. Actually I heard tonight that in the last few days they have started work on/laying foundations to the Westbrook site. Seems like an odd move in view of the fact it will be only a few hundred yards from the proposed Arlington Tesco.

    The local shopkeepers are, understandably, very worried. I urge everyone to use their "little shops" as much as possible