Tesco store gets warm welcome (but it's not the one in St Albans)

PUBLISHED: 11:16 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:05 06 May 2010

TESCO is pushing ahead with plans for a new store — with the blessing of people living around it! But the new shop is not in St Albans where Tesco is facing opposition to its plans for a superstore on the former Evershed s site in London Road. Instead it

TESCO is pushing ahead with plans for a new store - with the blessing of people living around it!

But the new shop is not in St Albans where Tesco is facing opposition to its plans for a superstore on the former Evershed's site in London Road.

Instead it is in Wheathampstead where it is proposing to convert the existing One Stop Shop into an enlarged Tesco Express.

Tesco has owned the One Stop Shop for about three years but decided to keep the former name. Now it has acquired the unit next door and plans to open as a Tesco Express once it has the go-ahead for the necessary changes. A planning application is expected to be submitted within days.

The new Tesco Express will take up two out of the three units that were formally occupied by the Fine Fare supermarket which closed several years ago when the Somerfield store - then part of the Fine Fare Group - was opened in Harpenden.

There has been a lot of public pressure in Wheathampstead for a top-name quality supermarket to open in the village stocking a wide range of affordable groceries since a bid to open a Sainsbury's store failed some years ago. It was to have been built on the former Murphy Chemicals site but it was called in and turned down by the Government because of significant public interest after pressure from retailers and residents of Harpenden who objected to the proposed size and possible competition.

Cllr Chris Oxley, who represents Wheathampstead on the district council, said: "I was devastated when the Sainsbury planning approval was called in and refused at Governmental levels as residents were forced to travel to Hatfield or St Albans to do even the most basic of grocery shopping.

"This may be OK for car owners but for the less well-off, possibly elderly or a mother with young children, this was an abominable journey by bus and then a huge struggle to carry all the purchases home, possibly with a pushchair as well."

He added: "The absence of a supermarket has had a major adverse impact on the whole of the shops in the village that are struggling to remain open due to the low footfall. This is despite starting our monthly Farmers Market and the opening of the High School for Girls, both of which have the potential to bring in trade to the village.

"I am delighted that Tesco is intending to open their new Express store and am sure almost all village residents will be as well.

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