New hope of action soon on Tesco homes

PUBLISHED: 10:47 21 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:57 06 May 2010

A PROPOSAL to develop a row of derelict houses originally earmarked as part of the proposed Tesco supermarket in St Albans, is expected soon. The district council had told Tesco, which owns the houses along London Road, St Albans, that they were prepared

A PROPOSAL to develop a row of derelict houses originally earmarked as part of the proposed Tesco supermarket in St Albans, is expected soon.

The district council had told Tesco, which owns the houses along London Road, St Albans, that they were prepared to use the Housing Act to repossess the properties and reoccupy them.

It followed criticism over a number of years that Tesco had allowed the houses to become rundown along with the former Evershed's site on which the proposed store would be built.

The application for a 6,480 square metre supermarket with a car park and independent shops was refused last year but a revised proposal is expected at any time.

Tesco has already confirmed that the new application will not incorporate the London Road properties which were going to be demolished as part of the original proposal.

In the meantime Tesco has employed a company to oversee the maintenance of the site.

Cllr Chris Brazier, St Albans council's planning portfolio holder, said: "I had a meeting with Tesco before Christmas and they stated they would tidy up the properties. They have put a caretaker in the site to stop people squatting. They told me that any new application would not include the houses in London Road."

He gave them a two-month deadline to submit an application to refurbish the properties and warned them that the council would use the Housing Act to force them into selling the properties for housing if they failed to do so.

Cllr Brazier added: "If they don't do it I will go back for them. If they don't do them up then they will have to sell them."

A spokesperson for Tesco said that the council had advised them that their preference was for the London Road properties to be refurbished into a mixture of residential and retail units.

He confirmed that the company's architects have developed a scheme in line with the council's suggestions, for which a planning application would "hopefully" be submitted shortly.

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