Tesco has abandoned plans to build a controversial 82,000sq ft supermarket in Margate which had attracted criticism from Mary Portas and local campaigners.

The proposal was granted final approval by communities secretary Eric Pickles last year after he originally called in the plans because the out-of-centre location was not in accordance with the local development plan.

At the time Mary Portas said it was a “sad, sad day” for Margate, one of her flagship Portas Pilots which was awarded £100,000 to fund ideas to rejuvenate the high street.

But now Tesco is set to pull out of the contract with the site’s landlord, Freshwater Developments, as it switches its focus from large stores to convenience stores. It follows the company’s decision to mothball a new supermarket in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire.

A Tesco spokesman said: “As we’ve previously announced, we are reducing the number of large stores we open each year as a result of changing customer shopping habits.

“After careful consideration we have therefore decided not to pursue a new large store in Margate. We’d like to thank everyone who supported our plans and will continue to serve the local community through our other stores in the town and our online grocery shopping service.”