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Supermarket giant says it's "disappointed" with criticism from cyclists...

Campaigners in Warwickshire are calling for cycle lanes to be introduced as a matter of urgency to a new £27 million Tesco Extra store that officially opened in Bedworth this week, which has no provision for those wishing to access it by bicycle. They have warned that road conditions for bike riders are unsafe, but a spokesman for Tesco said the company was “disappointed” with cyclists’ criticism of the scheme.

Since work began on the project a year ago, Keith Kondaokor of Friends of the Earth says that the area has become a “no go area for cyclists,” with the road layout and volumes of traffic making conditions hazardous, reports the Coventry Telegraph.

Mr Kondakor and other members of Friends of the Earth staged a ride at the weekend on the roads surrounding the 65,000 square foot store, which also has a petrol station plus parking spaces for 518 cars. It replaces a smaller Tesco store on the same site.

Road improvements, pedestrian access and car parking, as well as the impact of the store on other local traders, were among the issues highlighted at an exhibition of plans as part of the planning process and at a public meeting last year, according to a report prepared by Signet Planning and published on the Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council website.

There was no mention of cycling, however.

“We’ve been fighting for cycle routes in Bedworth for some time now,” Mr Kondakor told the newspaper. Tesco have spent £1.1million to change the layout of the roads around the store but they haven’t done anything at all for cyclists.

“To try to cycle around here is too dangerous – the store is absolutely massive and the traffic it generates is vast. It’s especially bad at the weekends. It’s bedlam round here.

“The roads are too narrow for cyclists to go through. The work still hasn’t been completed and the pedestrian crossing has gone missing – it’s a mess.

“People are having to cycle on the pavements which we don’t agree with. It’s not safe.

“A lot more people are using their bikes now instead of driving because people don’t have the money any more and yet Bedworth is lagging behind with no cycle routes. We won’t give up the fight,” he concluded.

However, a spokesman for Tesco claimed that the new store, which has led to the creation of 145 jobs, had been well received elsewhere.

“We have been working closely with Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council to make sure this scheme is the right way forward,” he said.

“We believe we’ve helped to stop people leaving the town to shop elsewhere.

“We feel this is a great scheme and we’re disappointed with the comments made by cyclists.
“If there are problems with roads we will work closely with the council on how to improve them.

“We’ve had nothing but praise from everyone else on this scheme and we will look at addressing any issues people have about the scheme with the council.”

The store was officially opened on Monday by Dan Byles, Conservative MP for North Warwickshire and Bedworth.

Finally it is only fair to point out that other supermarket chains such as Sainsburys have also had run-ins with cycle campaigners in recent years over issues surrounding access to their stores.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

23 comments

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yarrump [15 posts] 4 years ago
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Main road entrance to Tesco, Brooklands in Weybridge is pretty unfriendly to cyclists as well. I find it safer to enter via one of the pedestrian entries. Whether it is Tesco or M&S once safely inside there are cycling parking places most of which are undercover. Council seems to be encouraging more cycling on the pavements as more of the blue signs have appeared on lampposts recently. I find the pavements still very bumpy and every time it crosses a road it becomes very hazardous as the cars don't expect you to cross there.

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Chris [141 posts] 4 years ago
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“We’ve had nothing but praise from everyone else on this scheme"
- so just them pesky cyclists causing trouble by choosing a form of transport that's not a car to get around their local communities.
I don't understand why Tesco would want to dig their heels in. Why not make it pleasant for cyclists to ride to and near Tescos and then everyone would be happy and like Tescos again.
Could have been a PR triumph for the supermarket instead of making themselves look like they don't care about public safety and hold cyclists in disdain.
If only Waitrose wasn't so expensive...

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A V Lowe [567 posts] 4 years ago
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Tesco is losing market share and is perhaps the least cycle friendly of the 'shed' shops. personally I choose to shop a) locally, as prices are generally little different and for many local greengrocers and butchers the produce is fresher and better selected. plus b)I choose cycle friendly stores, where I can bring the bike inside to load up and even wheel round the store when it is quieter.

Officious stupidity in Crewe 24 hr store when I went for food before catching overnight train - not a single other customer seen and I get to the check out when security man (justifying his presence?) threatens to throw me out - but I make him wait until I've mad a (very) small contribution to his wages by paying for the goods, and then leaving.

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workhard [397 posts] 4 years ago
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Why would a Friends of the Earth campaigner even want to shop at Tesco's, by bike or any other means?

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David Portland [83 posts] 4 years ago
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As I read it he's not trying to get to Tesco's, he's just trying to get past it.

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SevenHills [184 posts] 4 years ago
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Apparently "Every little helps" apart from when it involves listening to cyclists  4

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thereverent [387 posts] 4 years ago
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The big supermarkets seem to use the same design no matter if the location is on the outskirts of a town or in a city. They are designed for you to drive to and use the hugh car park.
Anyone on foot or cycling is a complete after-thought (if thought of at all).

I can think of Sainsburys at Vauxhall and Richmond in London that are unpleasant to get to by by foot or bike.

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rokapotamus [20 posts] 4 years ago
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Just another example of Tesco trying to take over the country. They are only interested in making as much profit from people as possible, and don't seem to care how they achieve it.

Check out http://www.tescopoly.org/

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 4 years ago
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Wonder what Lidl & Aldi are like for bike access and the like?

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Alan Tullett [1566 posts] 4 years ago
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Well I go to my local Aldi a lot by bike. It's only half a mile away. No particular problem and they have some cycle racks but I just lean my bike against a wall. It's just access from a normal, although busy road.

The bike gear in there is generally very good and way cheaper than most branded gear. You should review some of it some time or maybe I can as I've been using some for a few months now.

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bikecellar [268 posts] 4 years ago
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Is it not time Tesco started giving "green points" to cyclists for not using their car to shop.

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a.jumper [845 posts] 4 years ago
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Tesco do seem to be the worst. All the ones I can remember have the bike racks misinstalled - too close to a wall is the most common error.

Happily, waitrose now price-match on lots of lines, so it doesn't cost much to use a cycle-friendly and generally nicer store.

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Campag_10 [153 posts] 4 years ago
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Lidl is very good - bike racks right outside the main entrance. I think the company has a genuine appreciation of cyclists' needs from their stores in Germany.

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Keith Kondakor [2 posts] 4 years ago
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workhard wrote:

Why would a Friends of the Earth campaigner even want to shop at Tesco's, by bike or any other means?

I do not want to shop at Tesco - we just want to be able to cycle past it from the town centre northbound. Tesco paid the county council £1.1 million to change the road system to favor traffic going to their car-park. A one way road is now 2-way but is too narrow to have a cycle lane (and is not very good for cars to pass cycles). The other way round tesco is one way for cars and has bus lane in going the the other way (East then North). It is one of the few buses lanes in the UK that still bans cyclist.

We could have had a far better system.

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Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 4 years ago
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Thanks for the post, Keith. just out of interest, did you or other cyclists raise objections at the consultation stage? There's no mention of cycling in the report I linked to in the article.

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mattsr [16 posts] 4 years ago
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The local Tesco extra in Chichester has very poor bike racks, and they're tucked away at the side of the store, dimly lit, with no CCTV. Cycles are frequently stolen.

I try to avoid Tesco whenever possible but if I do use it I always double lock my bike.

Compare that to the nearby Waitrose store, where the racks are immediately outside the front entrance, and well lit. Also, of course, Waitrose have the cycle trailer loan scheme, where you can borrow a trailer big enough for a weeks shop for no charge. A really great idea.

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SideBurn [890 posts] 4 years ago
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A V Low; were you the person who was arrested after being hit from behind by a BMW? And now harrassed by a Tesco security guard for no reason? How badass do you look?  19 Reminds me of a friend who shaved all his hair off and said,"It is great fun to see the looks on little old ladies faces when you hold a door open for them!"!

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Keith Kondakor [2 posts] 4 years ago
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Nuneaton CTC objected to the planning and road traffic orders.

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A V Lowe [567 posts] 4 years ago
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At Lidl and Aldi I take bike in with me and either leave it at loading counter (across from Check-outs) or wheel it round with basket on the rack. I tend to shop ojnly where I can take the bike inside - but it is a Brompton, and thus more manouevrable and self supporting when parked.

Tesco's used cheap & tacky stunt for naturist shopping nights before but no main stream stores have considered cyclist shopping times (quieter times of day when there is no problem in bringing bikes in to the store, and you can load up inside, potentially directly at the check-out)

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1961BikiE [146 posts] 4 years ago
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Tesco is just an arrogant bully. Councils are scared, and in cases powerless to go up against them. Tesco can afford to counter claim any planning application that is refused. Especially at the moment very few councils have the money to be able to put together a legal opposition.

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Henz [50 posts] 4 years ago
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tony_farrelly wrote:

Wonder what Lidl & Aldi are like for bike access and the like?

My local Lidl has bike parking (not covered), and is on a green route part of the LCN.

AFAIK some of my cycling gear come from Aldi in Germany courtesy of my parents. The windbreaker/cycling jacket has received regular use for at least 2 years and is showing little wear and tear.

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Tony Farrelly [2856 posts] 4 years ago
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1961BikiE wrote:

Tesco is just an arrogant bully. Councils are scared, and in cases powerless to go up against them. Tesco can afford to counter claim any planning application that is refused. Especially at the moment very few councils have the money to be able to put together a legal opposition.

Yes, that's what happened where I live, we've got a Tesco Express going in round the corner despite the planning application being thrown out by the council and having a large petition from residents against it. As I understand it one of the grounds for refusal was the likely increase in danger levels on an already busy and dangerous road. Tesco appealed and won. In my opinion the offical who allowed that appeal will have a death or serious injury on his conscience. Don't suppose Tesco has a conscience.

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sydneyroad [4 posts] 3 years ago
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The Tesco green living page
http://www.tesco.com/greenerliving/go_greener/greener_travel/get_cycling... promotes cycling, saying that it "is better for the environment than driving – it helps keep you and your family healthy and saves you money, too."

I have a verbal agreement from Tesco Extra Crewe to reconsider the current location of some of the customer cycle racks. At the old store we parked under shelter just feet from the entrance which made shopping by bike a convenience and a pleasure. Now they are exposed to the rain, which is bad for the machine, and rider who has to get back onto a wet bike! It makes it even more galling that now motor vehicles have covered parking, which is entirely unnecessary.
If you want to campaign for cycle shopping this may help:

In a recent study retailers overestimated the importance of car-borne trade by almost 100%;
http://www.sustrans.org.uk/assets/files/liveable%20neighbourhoods/Shoppe...
For each sq.m of non-revenue parking space cyclists purchased 20% more per year than motorists.
2 bags was a normal pedestrian maximum purchase - only 25% of those shopping by car purchased more than this, and thus justified the need for a car to transport their shopping home, but 17% of cyclists purchased more than the pedestrian limit.
Average amount spent by cycling customers is about £28, customers coming by car spend £55, people using public transport usually spend £30. Shopkeepers wonder whether cyclists are good customers - in fact they are, since they visit shops more often.
Local shoppers are more loyal to a local store, whereas car borne shoppers will range and be more perfidious in their habits.

Prominent in the foyer is a notice board, proudly announcing 'Together we can make a difference'.
The last straw today was when I was given a voucher at the till telling me I could get 10p off every litre of petrol. Not only have Tescos encouraged a greater carbon footprint by making car facilities more attractive than cycling, they are rewarding the motorist, and literally, leaving the cyclist out in the cold.