Tesco says it is reassured by council officers backing their supermarket plan for Whittlesey

TESCO have welcomed news that their plans for a new supermarket in Whittlesey are being backed by officers at Fenland District Council.

Both Tesco and Sainsbury’s have applied for permission to build a store in Eastrea Road - and the council has convened a special planning meeting to reconsider both plans on Wednesday.

Back in May the decisions were deferred for retail consultants to look at the viability of a site in Station Road, where Tesco still have planning permission to build a 24,500 sq ft store. At that meeting, officers recommended approval for Tesco to build in Eastrea Road.

A report to go before next week’s planning meeting endorses the proposals by Harrier Developments to move its existing planning consent for a Tesco store from Station Road to Eastrea Road.

According to the latest report, Tesco is contracted in to the Harrier plans and is obliged to build on Station Road. It says Whittlesey cannot support two supermarkets, therefore if the Sainsbury’s application is approved, the High Street will suffer.

Councillors will also be told that the two proposals for roundabout access on Eastrea Road by Harrier and Larkfleet Homes do not need to be compatible at this stage, and the Harrier site on Eastrea Road is sequentially preferable to the Sainsbury’s site, and therefore better for Whittlesey town centre.

Liz Dent from Harrier said: “It is great to see that following the last committee meeting, and after further research and investigations, officers remain certain that our site is the best option for Whittlesey because it agrees with national and local planning policy. We’ve worked hard to make sure all the technical reports and documents are completed and approved and if members give us the green light, we are now ready to start building as soon as possible.”

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Louise Gosling from Tesco said: “We’ve been committed to finding the best possible site for a foodstore in Whitttlesy for nearly five years. We’ve worked with politicians, officers and local people to make sure we are able to provide the supermarket they want to prevent them having to leave the town to shop elsewhere. It’s reassuring to know officers have agreed with our proposals for the second time. It means the plans are absolutely watertight and ready to be approved. If members agree we will look forward to providing the supermarket service in Whittlesey so many people have told us they want and need”.

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