big stores: decisions are delayed

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DECISIONS on whether to allow two giant supermarket chains to expand in Scarborough have been put back.

It was announced yesterday that Scarborough Council’s planning committee will not consider applications for a new Tesco superstore in Dean Road nor an extension to Sainsbury’s in Falsgrave Road until the summer.

The applications had previously been scheduled to come before the planning committee next month.

Sainsbury’s yesterday expressed their frustration with the decision, which has been taken after Tesco chose to alter their plans after public consultations events.

Independent assessments on both proposals, which consider the impact they would have on traffic and other retailers in Scarborough, are also yet to be completed and that is another key factor behind the delay.

Pauline Elliott, the council’s head of regeneration and planning, said: “While I am aware that residents are keen for decisions to be made, the planning authority cannot go ahead until all relevant information has been received and considered. For major applications such as these it is important not to rush things and we have to ensure that the councillors who sit on the planning committee have all the relevant information to hand when they come to make these important decisions.”

The delay means a new planning and development committee will now run the rule over the applications, with the council elections set to take place in May.

Reacting to the news, a spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said yesterday: “It has been some two years since we started informal discussions with the local authority and 18 months since we announced our original plans.

“We took on board people’s comments

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and amended the scheme accordingly.

“Our planning application was submitted at Christmas 2010 and this further delay, beyond the council’s own deadline, is clearly disappointing.”

Tesco have said that changes to their plans will be announced imminently and displayed publicly.

Deborah Hayeems, regional corporate affairs manager for Tesco, said: “We have listened to lots of different views since we started our consultation and changes are currently being made to incorporate feedback from residents and local groups so we ensure the development will offer the most benefits to the area.”

The Scarborough Town Against Tesco Store group has been set up in opposition to Tesco’s plans for the new store and has attracted more than 2,000 signatures to a petition.

Yesterday the group’s chairman, Malcolm Short, welcomed the decision and said he had not been surprised to hear the news.

He added: “We look forward to seeing these revised plans that Tesco have been telling us about since February 16.

“What this delay has done is given us even more time to gain more support in our campaign which is gaining more interest all the time.”

Tesco say their development would create 350 new jobs while Sainsbury’s have said their planned extension will create 85 new jobs.

Cllr David Billing represents the Central ward where Tesco plan to build their new store and also sits on the council’s planning and development committee.

He said: “There are many concerns of residents which I do share. They will have to be weighed against the advice the planning committee receives.

“I might have preferred a planning brief that did address some of the housing needs, but there is little point if there is not a developer willing to look at it.

“There is a derelict site on my patch and I would like to see it developed, rather than remain the weed-covered derelict dumping ground it has become.”