Tesco play the waiting game

PUBLISHED: 11:30 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:08 06 May 2010

TESCO have been accused of riding roughshod over people after failing to give planners information without which its application for a St Albans store cannot be processed. Two weeks ago St Albans District Council planners asked the supermarket for details

TESCO have been accused of riding roughshod over people after failing to give planners information without which its application for a St Albans store cannot be processed.

Two weeks ago St Albans District Council planners asked the supermarket for details missing from their planning application.

Tesco said the revisions would be with the planning department at the beginning of last week but on Tuesday this week there was still no sign of the information.

As a result the application for the proposed store has yet to be registered more than a month-and-a-half after it was submitted.

Tesco have come under fire for the long delay in submitting a planning application for the 4,000-square-metre store on the site of the former Eversheds print works in London Road.

It was eventually lodged with the district council on February 11, but was sent back to Tesco weeks later because large-scale store plans and floor plans of the locally-listed houses in London Road had not been supplied.

At the time, Tesco argued that the application had been submitted by the book and the missing details would not normally be requested until a later stage of the application process.

The council's planning portfolio holder Cllr Chris Brazier confirmed this week that there was still no sign of the information that the council had requested.

He added: "We need the information to actually register the application. I am very concerned that Tesco will submit their plans when Tesco are ready."

He found it surprising that Tesco with all their experience did not know what to submit to a planning authority. "How many applications in the country have they done?" he asked.

Cllr Brazier is still pursuing the EDMO's (Empty Dwelling Management Orders) to enable the empty houses in London Road to come back into use because of the uncertainty about the Tesco plans.

He accused Tesco of appearing to use their influence and money to ride roughshod over people although he admitted they had improved the appearance of the Eversheds site car park and properties in London Road.

Tesco spokesperson Eben Black said the store had never pledged that the required details would be with the council on the weekend of March 15 to 16 but their architects had completed the scaled-up plans for the store and the missing details would be submitted very shortly, possibly in less than a week's time.

He denied that Tesco was trying to delay the planning application and stressed their commitment to renovating the London Road houses.

Simon Hepburn of St Albans Stop Tesco said they were not surprised by Tesco's delay and added: "We've speculated before that Tesco are hoping that if they wait long enough local people will get fed up with the situation and eventually back the proposal."

n One Tesco store which has been welcomed - page 9.

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