By Linda Tanner, Education Correspondent
Company spokeswoman Melanie Chiswell told Bristol city councillors that local people welcomed the proposed store in the old Standard of England pub.
The property, on the corner of Greystoke Avenue and Arnside road, opposite the Arnside shopping centre, has been empty for some time.
Tesco began work on the building but launch plans were delayed after local councillor Jacqueline Bowles raised concerns about road safety.
Ms Chiswell told the development control (north) committee this week (wed 13) that she had received many calls from residents worried that the chain had decided not to go ahead because of the huge opposition to the store that it recently opened in Stokes Croft.
“This isn’t Stokes Croft, it’s Southmead,” she said. “It’s fair to say we’ve learned quite a lot from what happened at Stokes Croft about community consultation and we’ve applied that learning to Southmead.
“People in the area have been very welcoming. I’ve received dozens of emails from people seeking reassurance that we haven’t abandoned the site, that we haven’t been frightened away.”
Ms Chiswell said Tesco had agreed to provide support for the Southmead Festival and to the Mead magazine.
She added that the former pub had been closed for some time so its redevelopment as a store would enhance the area. This is hopefully a positive example of where Tesco can bring a redundant site back into positive use.”
The store has created 19 jobs, 13 of them new posts that have gone to Southmead people, including single mothers and the long-term unemployed. The staff are working in other stores until the Southmead one is ready to open.
The committee unanimously agreed to the store’s application for a new shopfront and signs.
Labour Councillor Derek Pickup said: “It’s nice to see something relocating to Southmead. In the past we had areas such as this where we’ve had difficulty attracting shops to come in.”
Councillors were told Tesco had withdrawn proposals for a cash machine because of fears that drivers would stop alongside it, causing a traffic hazard.
But some committee members felt this was a pity. Labour Councillor Fabian Breckels said: “This is the kind of area where cash machines tend to charge £1.75 or £1.95. That’s going to hit people on limited incomes. The provision of a free cash machine to give people free access to their money would be an asset.”
After the meeting, Ms Chiswell said: “We’re pleased at the unanimous approval for the store and will aim to open it as soon as we can. We’ll also look again at the possibility of seeking permission for a cash machine.”