SCARBOROUGH’S huge Tesco development will still go ahead – despite the supermarket giant freezing expansion plans.
Bosses have confirmed the controversial store proposed for Dean Road is on schedule, amid reports it had been shelved.
Tesco is rumoured to have stalled on launching any new large supermarkets for the next three years.
However, Matt Magee, corporate affairs manager for the company, exclusively told the Evening News the £42 million Scarborough investment was still on Tesco’s radar.
He said: “The plans are still in place for our development programme and the funding is there.
“This is something that we want to do and want to invest in Scarborough.
“The project is looking good.”
Doubts over the development had been raised after reports suggested Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke would slash spending in a new budget drive.
The move highlighted the possibility of Tesco deferring plans for larger supermarkets in favour of smaller convenience outlets.
However, owing to the company’s large backlog of developments in its portfolio, it will continue to open large stores for the next two years before these plans take any hold.
The new Scarborough store will create 150 new jobs, along with the 200 existing members of staff from the Westwood store, with many aimed at local long-term unemployed people.
Work on the new store could start as early as September as the company works on a bid for the permanent closure of Trafalgar Street West to accommodate the development.
However, the store has drawn the ire of thousands of residents in the town, with the group Scarborough Town Against Tesco Store handing in a 5,000-signature petition to the Government last year.
The development was only passed by one vote in a drawn-out Scarborough Council meeting in December.
Malcolm Short, chairman of the Scarborough Town Against Tesco Store group, said at the time: “The councillors haven’t listened to local people.
“They didn’t even seem to know what they were voting for.”
However, the plan was given an extra boost in February when the Secretary of State ruled the planning application would not be called-in for examination.
Concerns had been raised over the size of the store, the fact it would lay outside the town centre and because it was a departure from the Local Plan.
Speaking immediately after the decision, Pauline Elliott, Scarborough Council’s head of planning and regeneration, said: “The council is pleased that the planning application has not been called-in by the Secretary of State.
“Although we understand that the decision remains unsupported in some quarters, this communication from central government demonstrates that the council has acted correctly in following the proper planning procedures to reach the present stage.”
It was first revealed in 2009 that Tesco had plans for a supermarket with a 50,000 metre sales floor, with rival Asda also saying it was interested in moving to the Scarborough area.
The pair took part in a major bidding battle in 2010, with Tesco coming out victorious after offering £20 million - £2.5 million more than Asda.
The new development would include a new petrol station for the town.