Are we getting a new Tesco? Yes... but only just

Protestors gather on the steps of Westborough Church. Picture by Neil Silk  114957a
Protestors gather on the steps of Westborough Church. Picture by Neil Silk 114957a

A Tesco superstore was narrowly approved yesterday.

The five to four result came after a mammoth six-hour meeting. Officers had not expected the meeting, which started at 1pm, to go on so long and it had to adjourned for an hour because the hall had been booked for a nativity rehearsal.

Cllrs Dorothy Clegg (chairman), James Preston, Martin Smith, Simon Green and Herbert Tindall were in favour while Cllrs Johan Zegstroo, John Flinton, Mick Jay-Hanmer and Dilys Cluer voted against.

Around 30 protesters lined the steps ahead of the meeting and speaking after the vote Malcolm Short, the chairman of the Scarborough Town Against Tesco Store group, said there would be a meeting on Tuesday to decide their next step.

Pauline Elliott, the council’s head of regeneration, said that the Tesco scheme, as well as a planning application to extend Sainsburys off Falsgrave Road, would bring 400 jobs to the town. She added: “That’s 400 jobs in Scarborough in a recession.”

A Tesco spokesman said that 150 new jobs will be created, in addition to the 200 existing members of staff, and they would be targeted at long-term unemployed people in the Scarborough area.

He added: “This is a £42 million investment and an under utilised area of land will be regenerated. We’ve listened to lots of different views and feedback and changes have been made.”

He added that the area around the grade II listed prison buildings would be improved and the Corporation Club would be rehoused in the Victorian building. He said: “We are encouraged by local businesses.”

Speaking after the meeting Malcolm Short said: “The councillors haven’t listened to local people. I requested a recorded vote – why didn’t they go for that?

“They didn’t even seem to know what they were voting on and it’s an important decision.”

Cllr Eric Broadbent, one of the local ward councillors who spoke for around 50 minutes against the Tesco plan, said it was a bad decision for residents. He added: “In the next few years they are going to get a huge superstore on their doorstep.”

During the meeting he highlighted residents’ concerns including: increased traffic, and environmental issues – including a threatened weeping elm tree. He added: “What a reputation this borough is getting over trees.”

Cllr Broadbent said that the superstore would have a big impact on Scarborough’s town centre and the promise of extra jobs would not be honoured because there would be a switch to automated tills.

There were concerns over shutting Trafalgar Street West – which currently cuts through the site and separates the council depot and the former St Mary’s Hospital.

Jill Low, the council’s planning manager, described it as a rat run. She added: “Some of those properties might benefit from it not being a rat run.”