The Secretary of State has granted final approval to a controversial out-of-centre Tesco superstore in Margate, Kent - one of the most high profile Portas Pilots.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles called in the decision last November because the proposed 82,000sq ft superstore was “over 9,000sq m gross floor space in an out-of-centre location that is not in accordance with an up-to-date development plan”.

But in approving the plans this week, he argued that “limited weight should be attached to” the replacement local plan because it was at an early state of development.

The minister concluded that the supermarket would not impact on existing stores and could benefit and encourage footfall into the high street, despite its out-of-centre location. He said the development would be “unlikely to have a significant adverse impact on investment, or the vitality and viability of Margate town centre”.

In light of the “economically depressed state of Margate”, he placed high importance on the job creation benefits of the proposed development.

Mary Portas said it was a “sad, sad day” for Margate. “Government is ‘town centre first’ is it?”