Tesco’s dramatic last ditch bid to be allowed to build superstore NEXT to Sainsbury’s at Whittlesey

THE hunt was on tonight to find a Fenland councillor willing to propose that Tesco should be allowed to keep alive its bid for a new superstore at Eastrea.

One councillor’s name was suggested to me tonight as being likely to recommend the second chance option for Tesco but whether that person finds a seconder remains doubtful.

On the eve of tomorrow’s vital meeting of Fenland District Council Planning Committee, Tesco’s corporate affairs department has called for a councillor- any councillor- to propose they be given a second chance.

In a remarkable letter sent to all committee members, corporate affairs spokesman Louise Gosling warns that should Tesco appeal against the rejection of their Eastrea scheme it could prove “extremely expensive, not only for us but also for the council and, ultimately, your tax payers”.

Sainsbury’s won approval for their Eastrea scheme and Tesco’s, who already have consent for a Station Road store, was refused permission for an Eastrea store next to Sainsbury’s.


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Ms Gosling said that “obviously” Tesco was disappointed and having taken advice was confident of strong grounds to appeal.

She claims rejection of Tesco’s application “was made in error as members were inadvertently misled on technical matters”.

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She argued that Harrier Developments – the Manea company run by Richard Sears and who had spearheaded their bid- had seen their proposals rejected on “erroneous planning history information and misinterpreted draft planning policy.

“Given these circumstances it is not surprising that members struggled to reach a decision.

“However, now that the facts are clear, I would like to propose members take a fresh view”.

Ms Gosling says that at the last meeting “several” members supported the idea of giving permission to both stores and this is what Tesco was now suggesting.

However it is thought unlikely the committee will back a renewed bid by Tesco and for two principal reasons, firstly that two large stores could wreck the town centre and secondly that the infrastructure is not there to support both.

It is also thought the Tesco site is best suited to bring forward for housing.

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