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Tesco warns roundabout plans will cause traffic gridlock at its Inshes store in Inverness

By Val Sweeney

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Tesco says there could be traffic gridlock at its Inshes store under plans for the nearby roundabout.
Tesco says there could be traffic gridlock at its Inshes store under plans for the nearby roundabout.

Supermarket giant Tesco fears it could lose customers if proposed changes at Inshes roundabout go ahead.

It is maintaining its objection to plans proposed by Highland Council to alter the roundabout which has a long-standing reputation as one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the city.

Tesco says if the proposals are given the go-ahead, its store at Inshes Retail Park will lose direct access to the roundabout and that the car park could become gridlocked with hundreds of vehicles for hours, leading to customers shopping elsewhere.

Earlier this year, Tesco lodged an objection to the plans which involve reducing the number of exits from the roundabout from six to four, controlled by traffic lights, plus various changes to other nearby roads.

It commissioned ECS Transport Planning Ltd (ECS) to monitor the application.

As part of the objection, ECS lodged a technical review of the proposed scheme, highlighting concerns with the methodology and results of a modelling exercise.

Although the council has submitted a response document, ECS says it does not address the concerns raised by Tesco and considers to be an inadequate response.

In its latest submission, ECS states: "Given the proposed scheme will undoubtedly have a significant long term impact on the Inshes store trade, Tesco will be left with no option but to continue their challenge to the scheme."

It says figures suggest more than 300 vehicles queueing in the retail park in 2037 which in theory would be nearly 2km long and would leave the car park gridlocked and customers stuck for hours.

"It is evident that Tesco will lose its direct access to Inshes Roundabout as part of the scheme and the model effectively shows that customers will be gridlocked within the store car park and unable to exit," it states.

"It is clear that this will lead to customers shopping elsewhere which is not acceptable to Tesco or other traders within the retail park."

ECS states there is clearly an issue with the reporting of queues which needs to be clarified so the public can consider the critical performance indicator accurately.

In challenging the detail provided, it adds the level of detail is "unacceptable" for an infrastructure project which will result in significant impact to locals and the Eastlink road and emerging Local Development Plan.

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