Businessman behind Sainsbury’s bid for Whittlesey store claims vital information missing from �8,000 council report

VITAL information which could settle the Whittlesey superstore debate has been left out of a council commissioned report, it was claimed tonight.

March businessman Bruce Smith who has brought forward the Eastrea site now wanted by Sainsbury’s claimed Fenland District Council has not asked the right questions in advance of deciding the application.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s are locked in an increasingly bitter row over which application for neighbouring sites in Eastrea will win the day when councillors meet on Wednesday to decide.

A decision was postponed earlier for a fresh study to be commissioned by Fenland District Council of town planners Roger Tym and Partners and looking at the permission already given to Tesco for a store in Station Road.

Mr Smith says the report- prepared at a cost of �8,000- did not tackle the key issue of cumulative impact, i.e. could a Station Road Tesco or similar and a Sainsbury store in Eastrea Road both be viable.

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“It is vital to know the cumulative impact of both stores operating on separate sites and in different parts of the town,” said Mr Smith. “The report seems to have missed that out.”

He claims the answer is important since officers are recommending the Tesco bid ahead of Sainsbury’s partly because of the permission already in place for Station Road.

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Mr Smith says he wants both Eastrea Road applications to be decided “on a level playing field and that means we need this cumulative impact assessment”.

He said he was also concerned about delays to the Tyms report publication and that the council had blamed “typographical errors” for sending it back to the author before publishing it.

“I want some assurances- that’s all,” he said.

Ten points raised by Mr Smith were put to Fenland Council today but a spokesman said later that “we have no comment to make on this.”

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