Retailers in Southend and Reading have earned a temporary reprieve after plans for Tesco stores in both towns were deferred by local councils.
Southend Council last week deferred plans for a three-storey Tesco Extra superstore on the site of a former B&Q warehouse. Tesco has claimed the site would create up to 500 new jobs, but local retailers warned it would kill off the town centre. The council has now requested further traffic analysis and clarity on Tesco’s job creation claims.
More than 200 shopkeepers have signed a petition to reject the plans, including high street brands such as Topshop, Primark, Superdrug and Monsoon.
Plans for a 13th Tesco in Reading were deferred for the second time over traffic concerns, despite an offer of more than £100,000 towards transport infrastructure. Local traders have launched a petition opposing the plans.
Councillors decided to defer the application for a Tesco Express on Oxford Road less than a year after rejecting a similar application. Following the first rejection last October, Tesco commissioned a traffic study which dismissed concerns over the traffic flow and offered nearly £114,000 towards transport infrastructure. But the councillors stood firm, with one arguing that the 12-space car park could endanger pedestrians.
“Oxford Road Community School is just across the road and pavements are in constant use now they are going to be used by traffic coming in and out of the car park,” said councillor Sarah Hacker. “We have a Tesco half-a-mile to the east and half- a-mile to the west. It’s going to impact on local shops,” she added.
However, Tesco plans to open another Express store on the site of a former pub within half-a-mile of the Oxford Road site.